Protecting women and children: A wife’s property rights after declaration of nullity of marriage

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


When the marriage is declared null and void by the court on the ground of psychological incapacity of one or both parties, the wife is entitled to claim her share in the properties.

It has been ruled by the Supreme Court that in the declaration of nullity of marriages under Article 36 of the Family Code, the rules on co-ownership under Article 147 of the Family Code shall apply in the partition of the properties after the court declares the marriage void (Valdes vs. RTC, G.R. No. 122749 [1996]).

In a marriage declared void on the ground of psychological incapacity, the marriage of the parties is considered void from the beginning—it is as if the there was no marriage at all. It is similar to the situation provided in Article 147 of the Family Code wherein the parties live together exclusively without the benefit of marriage.

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Thus, applying Article 147, the salaries and the properties acquired by both parties through their work and industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership wherein the properties acquired by the parties during their union shall be presumed to have been acquired through their joint efforts and owned by them in equal shares.

In the event the woman was not employed, she is still entitled to an equal share of the properties because Article 147 provides that her efforts in taking care of the family and the household shall be deemed as her contribution to the acquisition of the properties.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2014.

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