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PROPERTY REGIME OF UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE

G.R. No. 122749 July 31, 1996 expressing their desire to remain with their father, Antonio
Valdez, herein petitioner.
ANTONIO A. S. VALDEZ, petitioner,
vs. In an order, dated 05 May 1995, the trial court made the
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 102, QUEZON following clarification:
CITY, and CONSUELO M. GOMEZ-VALDEZ, respondents.
Consequently, considering that Article 147 of the
Family Code explicitly provides that the property
acquired by both parties during their union, in the
VITUG, J.:p absence of proof to the contrary, are presumed to have
been obtained through the joint efforts of the parties and
The petition for new bewails, purely on the question of law, an will be owned by them in equal shares, plaintiff and
alleged error committed by the Regional Trial Court in Civil defendant will own their "family home" and all their
Case No. Q-92-12539. Petitioner avers that the court a quo has properties for that matter in equal shares.
failed to apply the correct law that should govern the disposition
of a family dwelling in a situation where a marriage is declared In the liquidation and partition of properties owned in
void ab initio because of psychological incapacity on the part of common by the plaintiff and defendant, the provisions
either or both parties in the contract. on ownership found in the Civil Code shall
apply.3 (Emphasis supplied.)
The pertinent facts giving rise to this incident are, by large, not in
dispute. In addressing specifically the issue regarding the disposition of
the family dwelling, the trial court said:
Antonio Valdez and Consuelo Gomez were married on 05
January 1971. Begotten during the marriage were five children. Considering that this Court has already declared the
In a petition, dated 22 June 1992, Valdez sought the declaration marriage between petitioner and respondent as null and
of nullity of the marriage pursuant to Article 36 of the Family void ab initio, pursuant to Art. 147, the property regime
code (docketed Civil Case No. Q-92-12539, Regional Trial Court of petitioner and respondent shall be governed by
of Quezon City, Branch 102). After the hearing the parties the rules on ownership.
following the joinder of issues, the trial court,1 in its decision of
29 July 1994, granted the petition, viz: The provisions of Articles 102 and 129 of the Family
Code finds no application since Article 102 refers to the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: procedure for the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership property and Article 129 refers to the
(1) The marriage of petitioner Antonio Valdez and procedure for the liquidation of the absolute community
respondent Consuelo Gomez-Valdez is hereby declared of property.4
null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code on
the ground of their mutual psychological incapacity to Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the order. The motion
comply with their essential marital obligations; was denied on 30 October 1995.

(2) The three older children, Carlos Enrique III, Antonio In his recourse to this Court, petitioner submits that Articles 50,
Quintin and Angela Rosario shall choose which parent 51 and 52 of the Family Code should be held controlling: he
they would want to stay with. argues that:

Stella Eloisa and Joaquin Pedro shall be placed in the I


custody of their mother, herein respondent Consuelo
Gomez-Valdes. Article 147 of the Family Code does not apply to cases
where the parties are psychologically incapacitated.
The petitioner and respondent shall have visitation
rights over the children who are in the custody of the II
other.
Articles 50, 51 and 52 in relation to Articles 102 and
(3) The petitioner and the respondent are directed to 129 of the Family Code govern the disposition of the
start proceedings on the liquidation of their common family dwelling in cases where a marriage is declared
properties as defined by Article 147 of the Family Code, void ab initio, including a marriage declared void by
and to comply with the provisions of Articles 50, 51, reason of the psychological incapacity of the spouses.
and 52 of the same code, within thirty (30) days from
notice of this decision. III

Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Assuming arguendo that Article 147 applies to
Registrar of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, for proper marriages declared void ab initio on the ground of the
recording in the registry of marriages.2 (Emphasis ours.) psychological incapacity of a spouse, the same may be
read consistently with Article 129.
Consuelo Gomez sought a clarification of that portion of the
decision directing compliance with Articles 50, 51 and 52 of the IV
Family Code. She asserted that the Family Code contained no
provisions on the procedure for the liquidation of common It is necessary to determine the parent with whom
property in "unions without marriage." Parenthetically, during the majority of the children wish to stay.5
hearing of the motion, the children filed a joint affidavit

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PROPERTY REGIME OF UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE

The trial court correctly applied the law. In a void marriage, (b) In the case of a void marriage, any party in bad faith shall
regardless of the cause thereof, the property relations of the forfeit his or her share in the co-ownership in favor of their
parties during the period of cohabitation is governed by the common children; in default thereof or waiver by any or all of
provisions of Article 147 or Article 148, such as the case may be, the common children, each vacant share shall belong to the
of the Family Code. Article 147 is a remake of Article 144 of the respective surviving descendants, or still in default thereof, to the
Civil Code as interpreted and so applied in previous cases; 6 it innocent party. The forfeiture shall take place upon the
provides: termination of the cohabitation9 or declaration of nullity of the
marriage. 10
Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated
to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as When the common-law spouses suffer from a legal impediment
husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or to marry or when they do not live exclusively with each other (as
under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be husband and wife), only the property acquired by both of them
owned by them in equal shares and the property through their actual joint contribution of money, property or
acquired by both of them through their work or industry industry shall be owned in common and in proportion to their
shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. respective contributions. Such contributions and corresponding
shares, however, are prima facie presumed to be equal. The share
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties of any party who is married to another shall accrue to the
acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to absolute community or conjugal partnership, as the case may be,
have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or if so existing under a valid marriage. If the party who has acted
industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her share
For purposes of this Article, a party who did not shall be forfeited in the manner already heretofore expressed. 11
participate in the acquisition by the other party of any
property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in In deciding to take further cognizance of the issue on the
the acquisition thereof in the former's efforts consisted settlement of the parties' common property, the trial court acted
in the care and maintenance of the family and of the neither imprudently nor precipitately; a court which has
household. jurisdiction to declare the marriage a nullity must be deemed
likewise clothed in authority to resolve incidental and
Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter consequential matters. Nor did it commit a reversible error in
vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during ruling that petitioner and private respondent own the "family
cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent home" and all their common property in equal shares, as well as
of the other, until after the termination of their in concluding that, in the liquidation and partition of the property
cohabitation. owned in common by them, the provisions on co-ownership
under the Civil Code, not Articles 50, 51 and 52, in relation to
When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in Articles 102 and 129, 12 of the Family Code, should aptly prevail.
good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the The rules set up to govern the liquidation of either the absolute
ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common community or the conjugal partnership of gains, the property
children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of regimes recognized for valid and voidable marriages (in the latter
the common children or their descendants, each vacant case until the contract is annulled), are irrelevant to the
share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the liquidation of the co-ownership that exists between common-law
forfeiture shall take place upon the termination of the spouses. The first paragraph of Articles 50 of the Family Code,
cohabitation. applying paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and 95) of Article 43, 13 relates
only, by its explicit terms, to voidable marriages and,
exceptionally, to void marriages under Article 40 14 of the
This particular kind of co-ownership applies when a man and a Code, i.e., the declaration of nullity of a subsequent marriage
woman, suffering no illegal impediment to marry each other, so contracted by a spouse of a prior void marriage before the latter
exclusively live together as husband and wife under a void is judicially declared void. The latter is a special rule that
marriage or without the benefit of marriage. The term somehow recognizes the philosophy and an old doctrine that void
"capacitated" in the provision (in the first paragraph of the law) marriages are inexistent from the very beginning and no judicial
refers to the legal capacity of a party to contract marriage, i.e., decree is necessary to establish their nullity. In now requiring
any "male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not for purposes of remarriage, the declaration of nullity by final
under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and judgment of the previously contracted void marriage, the present
38"7 of the Code. law aims to do away with any continuing uncertainty on the
status of the second marriage. It is not then illogical for the
Under this property regime, property acquired by both spouses provisions of Article 43, in relation to Articles 41 15 and 42, 16 of
through their work and industry shall be governed by the rules on the Family Code, on the effects of the termination of a
equal co-ownership. Any property acquired during the union subsequent marriage contracted during the subsistence of a
is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through their joint previous marriage to be made applicable pro hac vice. In all
efforts. A party who did not participate in the acquisition of the other cases, it is not to be assumed that the law has also meant to
property shall be considered as having contributed thereto jointly have coincident property relations, on the one hand, between
if said party's "efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of spouses in valid and voidable marriages (before annulment) and,
the family household."8 Unlike the conjugal partnership of gains, on the other, between common-law spouses or spouses of void
the fruits of the couple's separate property are not included in the marriages, leaving to ordain, on the latter case, the ordinary rules
co-ownership. on co-ownership subject to the provisions of the Family Code on
the "family home," i.e., the provisions found in Title V, Chapter
Article 147 of the Family Code, in the substance and to the above 2, of the Family Code, remain in force and effect regardless of
extent, has clarified Article 144 of the Civil Code; in addition, the property regime of the spouses.
the law now expressly provides that —
WHEREFORE, the questioned orders, dated 05 May 1995 and
(a) Neither party can dispose or encumber by act intervivos his or 30 October 1995, of the trial court are AFFIRMED. No costs.
her share in co-ownership property, without consent of the other,
during the period of cohabitation; and G.R. No. 202370 September 23, 2013
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PROPERTY REGIME OF UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE

JUAN SEVILLA SALAS, JR., Petitioner, right to the Discovered Properties. Salas likewise enumerated
vs. properties he allegedly waived in favor of Aguila, to wit:(1)
EDEN VILLENA AGUILA, Respondent. parcels of land with improvements located in Sugar Landing
Subdivision, Alangilan, Batangas City; No. 176 Brias Street,
DECISION Nasugbu, Batangas; P. Samaniego Street, Silangan, Nasugbu,
Batangas; and Batangas City, financed by Filinvest; (2) cash
CARPIO, J.: amounting to ₱200,000.00; and (3) motor vehicles, specifically
Honda City and Toyota Tamaraw FX(collectively, "Waived
Properties"). Thus, Salas contended that the conjugal properties
The Case were deemed partitioned.

This petition for review on certiorari 1 assails the 16 March 2012 The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Decision2 and the 28 June 2012 Resolution3 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 95322. The CA affirmed the
26 September 2008 Order4 of the Regional Trial Court of In its 26 September 2008 Order, the RTC ruled in favor of
Nasugbu, Batangas, Branch 14 (RTC), in Civil Case No. 787. Aguila. The dispositive portion of the Order reads:

The Facts WHEREFORE, foregoing premises being considered, the


petitioner and the respondent are hereby directed to partition
between themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, the
On 7 September 1985, petitioner Juan Sevilla Salas, Jr. (Salas) following properties, without prejudice to the legitime of their
and respondent Eden Villena Aguila (Aguila) were married. On 7 legitimate child, Joan Jisselle Aguila Salas:
June 1986, Aguila gave birth to their daughter, Joan Jiselle. Five
months later, Salas left their conjugal dwelling. Since then, he no
longer communicated with Aguila or their daughter. (1) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan S.
Salas married to Rubina C. Salas located in San
Bartolome, Quezon City and covered by TCT No. N-
On 7 October 2003, Aguila filed a Petition for Declaration of 259299-A marked as Exhibit "A" and its improvements;
Nullity of Marriage (petition) citing psychological incapacity
under Article 36 of the Family Code. The petition states that they
"have no conjugal properties whatsoever."5 In the Return of (2) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan
Summons dated 13 October 2003, the sheriff narrated that Salas S.Salas married to Rubina C. Salas located in San
instructed his mother Luisa Salas to receive the copy of summons Bartolome, Quezon City and covered by TCT No. N-
and the petition.6 255497 marked as Exhibit "B" and its improvements;

On 7 May 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision 7 declaring the (3) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan
nullity of the marriage of Salas and Aguila (RTC Decision). The S.Salas married to Rubina Cortez Salas located in Tondo
RTC Decision further provides for the "dissolution of their and covered by TCT No. 243373-Ind. marked as Exhibit
conjugal partnership of gains, if any."8 "D" and its improvements.

On 10 September 2007, Aguila filed a Manifestation and Thereafter, the Court shall confirm the partition so agreed upon
Motion9 stating that she discovered: (a) two 200-square-meter bythe parties, and such partition, together with the Order of the
parcels of land with improvements located in San Bartolome, Court confirming the same, shall be recorded in the Registry of
Quezon City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Deeds of the place in which the property is situated.
N-259299-A and TCT No. N-255497; and (b) a 108-square-meter
parcel of land with improvement located in Tondo, Manila, SO ORDERED.13
covered by TCT No. 243373 (collectively, "Discovered
Properties"). The registered owner of the Discovered Properties The RTC held that pursuant to the Rules, 14 even upon entry of
is "Juan S.Salas, married to Rubina C. Salas." The manifestation judgment granting the annulment of marriage, the court can
was set for hearing on 21 September 2007. However, Salas’ proceed with the liquidation, partition and distribution of the
notice of hearing was returned unserved with the remark, "RTS conjugal partnership of gains if it has not been judicially
Refused To Receive." adjudicated upon, as in this case. The RTC found that the
Discovered Properties are among the conjugal properties to be
On 19 September 2007, Salas filed a Manifestation with Entry of partitioned and distributed between Salas and Aguila. However,
Appearance10 requesting for an Entry of Judgment of the RTC the RTC held that Salas failed to prove the existence of the
Decision since no motion for reconsideration or appeal was filed Waived Properties.
and no conjugal property was involved.
On 11 November 2008, Rubina filed a Complaint-in-
On 21 September 2007, the hearing for Aguila’s manifestation Intervention, claiming that: (1) she is Rubina Cortez, a widow
ensued, with Aguila, her counsel and the state prosecutor present. and unmarried to Salas; (2) the Discovered Properties are her
During the hearing, Aguila testified that on 17 April 2007 paraphernal properties; (3) Salas did not contribute money to
someone informed her of the existence of the Discovered purchase the Discovered Properties as he had no permanent job
Properties. Thereafter, she verified the information and secured in Japan; (4) the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over her as she
copies of TCTs of the Discovered Properties. When asked to was not a party in the case; and (5) she authorized her brother to
clarify, Aguila testified that Rubina C. Salas (Rubina) is Salas’ purchase the Discovered Properties but because he was not well-
common-law wife.11 versed with legal documentation, he registered the properties in
the name of "Juan S. Salas, married to Rubina C. Salas."
On 8 February 2008, Salas filed an Opposition to the
Manifestation12 alleging that there is no conjugal property to be In its 16 December 2009 Order, the RTC denied the Motion for
partitioned based on Aguila’s petition. According to Salas, Reconsideration filed by Salas. The RTC found that Salas failed
Aguila’s statement was a judicial admission and was not made to prove his allegation that Aguila transferred the Waived
through palpable mistake. Salas claimed that Aguila waived her Properties to third persons. The RTC emphasized that it cannot

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PROPERTY REGIME OF UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE

go beyond the TCTs, which state that Salas is the registered cancelled by TCT No. T-105443 in the name of Joan
owner of the Discovered Properties. The RTC further held that Jiselle A. Salas, single;
Salas and Rubina were at fault for failing to correct the TCTs, if
they were not married as they claimed. (2) TCT No. T-68066 – a parcel of land situated in the
Barrio of Landing, Nasugbu, Batangas, registered in the
Hence, Salas filed an appeal with the CA. name of Eden A. Salas, married to Juan S. Salas Jr.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals Moreover, [Aguila] submitted original copy of Certification
issued by Ms. Erlinda A. Dasal, Municipal Assessor of Nasugbu,
On 16 March 2012, the CA affirmed the order of the RTC. 15 The Batangas, certifying that [Aguila] has no real property (land and
CA ruled that Aguila’s statement in her petition is not a judicial improvement) listed in the Assessment Roll for taxation
admission. The CA pointed out that the petition was filed on 7 purposes, as of September 17, 2008.
October 2003, but Aguila found the Discovered Properties only
on 17 April 2007 or before the promulgation of the RTC Such evidence, in the absence of proof to the contrary, has the
decision. Thus, the CA concluded that Aguila was palpably presumption of regularity. x x x.
mistaken in her petition and it would be unfair to punish her over
a matter that she had no knowledge of at the time she made the Suffice it to say that such real properties are existing and
admission. The CA also ruled that Salas was not deprived of the registered in the name of [Aguila], certified true copies thereof
opportunity to refute Aguila’s allegations in her manifestation, should have been the ones submitted to this Court. Moreover,
even though he was not present in its hearing. The CA likewise there is also a presumption that properties registered in the
held that Rubina cannot collaterally attack a certificate of title. Registry of Deeds are also declared in the Assessment Roll for
taxation purposes.22
In a Resolution dated 28 June 2012,16 the CA denied the Motion
for Reconsideration17 filed by Salas. Hence, this petition. On the other hand, Aguila proved that the Discovered Properties
were acquired by Salas during their marriage.1âwphi1Both the
The Issues RTC and the CA agreed that the Discovered Properties registered
in Salas’ name were acquired during his marriage with Aguila.
Salas seeks a reversal and raises the following issues for The TCTs of the Discovered Properties were entered on 2 July
resolution: 1999 and 29 September 2003, or during the validity of Salas and
Aguila’s marriage. In Villanueva v. Court of Appeals,23 we held
1. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial that the question of whether the properties were acquired during
court’s decision ordering the partition of the parcels of the marriage is a factual issue. Factual findings of the RTC,
land covered by TCT Nos. N-259299-A and N-255497 particularly if affirmed by the CA, are binding on us, except
in Quezon City and as well as the property in Manila under compelling circumstances not present in this case.24
covered by TCT No. 243373 between petitioner and
respondent. On Salas’ allegation that he was not accorded due process for
failing to attend the hearing of Aguila’s manifestation, we find
2. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial the allegation untenable. The essence of due process is
court’s decision in not allowing Rubina C. Cortez to opportunity to be heard. We hold that Salas was given such
intervene in this case18 opportunity when he filed his opposition to the manifestation,
submitted evidence and filed his appeal.
The Ruling of the Court
On both Salas and Rubina’s contention that Rubina owns the
Discovered Properties, we likewise find the contention
The petition lacks merit. unmeritorious. The TCTs state that "Juan S. Salas, married to
Rubina C. Salas" is the registered owner of the Discovered
Since the original manifestation was an action for partition, this Properties. A Torrens title is generally a conclusive evidence of
Court cannot order a division of the property, unless it first the ownership of the land referred to, because there is a strong
makes a determination as to the existence of a co- presumption that it is valid and regularly issued. 25 The phrase
ownership.19 Thus, the settlement of the issue of ownership is the "married to" is merely descriptive of the civil status of the
first stage in this action.20 registered owner.26 Furthermore, Salas did not initially dispute
the ownership of the Discovered Properties in his opposition to
Basic is the rule that the party making an allegation in a civil the manifestation. It was only when Rubina intervened that Salas
case has the burden of proving it by a preponderance of supported Rubina’s statement that she owns the Discovered
evidence.21 Salas alleged that contrary to Aguila’s petition stating Properties.
that they had no conjugal property, they actually acquired the
Waived Properties during their marriage. However, the RTC Considering that Rubina failed to prove her title or her legal
found, and the CA affirmed, that Salas failed to prove the interest in the Discovered Properties, she has no right to
existence and acquisition of the Waived Properties during their intervene in this case. The Rules of Court provide that only "a
marriage: person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in
the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or
A perusal of the record shows that the documents submitted by is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other
[Salas] as the properties allegedly registered in the name of disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer
[Aguila] are merely photocopies and not certified true copies, thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the
hence, this Court cannot admit the same as part of the records of action."27
this case. These are the following:
In Diño v. Diño,28 we held that Article 147 of the Family Code
(1) TCT No. T-65876 – a parcel of land located at applies to the union of parties who are legally capacitated and not
Poblacion, Nasugbu, Batangas, registered in the name of barred by any impediment to contract marriage, but whose
Eden A. Salas, married to Juan Salas Jr. which is marriage is nonetheless declared void under Article 36 of the
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PROPERTY REGIME OF UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE

Family Code, as in this case. Article147 of the Family Code


provides:

ART. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to


marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband
and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void
marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in
equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through
their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-
ownership.

In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while


they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by
their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them
in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not
participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property
shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition
thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and
maintenance of the family and of the household.

Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his


or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and
owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after
the termination of their cohabitation.

When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith,


the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be
forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of
or waiver by any or all of the common children or their
descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective
surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share
shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall
take place upon termination of the cohabitation. (Emphasis
supplied)

Under this property regime, property acquired during the


marriage is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through
the couple’s joint efforts and governed by the rules on co-
ownership.29 In the present case, Salas did not rebut this
presumption. In a similar case where the ground for nullity of
marriage was also psychological incapacity, we held that the
properties acquired during the union of the parties, as found by
both the RTC and the CA, would be governed by co-
ownership.30 Accordingly, the partition of the Discovered
Properties as ordered by the RTC and the CA should be
sustained, but on the basis of co-ownership and not on the regime
of conjugal partnership of gains.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the


Decision dated16 March 2012 and the Resolution dated 28 June
2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 95322.

SO ORDERED.