I previously wrote about “something that appears to be increasingly common nowadays — the live-in relationship, also called common-law marriage.” This is governed by Article 147 of the Family Code, which recognizes, and expressly governs the property relations in, the relationship where a man and a woman live exclusively with each other just like a husband and wife, but without the benefit of marriage (or when the marriage is void). In this situation, property acquired by both spouses through their work and industry shall be governed by the rules on equal co-ownership. Any property acquired during the union is presumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. As to the homemaker, or the one who cared for and maintained the family household, he/she is still considered to have jointly contributed to the acquisition of a property, even if he/she did not directly participate in the property’s acquisition.
Recently, I stumbled on an interesting article discussing that “cohabitation has become more common than ever before. In fact, more than half of all couples are now living together before they walk down the aisle.” I guess this “study” on cohabitation (or “live-in” relationships or “common-law” marriages), if ever one exists, is in the U.S. It may not be true here in the Philippines, but I could observe an increasing trend.
We also noted that the only readily apparent advantage of a common-law marriage over a formal marriage is in practical terms — the parties who may want to get out of the relationship don’t have to go through the process of annulment/declaration of nullity, a process that is quite tedious, lengthy and expensive.
Whether these observations are right or wrong, you tell me.