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G.R. No. 159521 December 16 2005 [Article 147-Property Regime of void marriage]
After two years of living together, Francisco and Erminda got married in 1979. Four children
were born from this union. During the time they lived together, they acquired properties, and
Erlinda managed their pizza business.
In 1992, She prays for the declaration of the nullity of their marriage based on Mario's alleged
psychological incapacity, and for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains. During the
time they lived together, they acquired properties. She managed their pizza business and
worked hard for its development. Mario denied she was the one who managed the pizza business
and claimed that he exclusively owns the properties "existing during their marriage."
In 1997 the trial court rendered its decision, rendered its judgment and ordered the dissolution of
the conjugal partnership of gains and divide the conjugal properties between Francisco and
Erminda. Not satisfied with the manner their properties were divided, Francisco appealed to the
CA, which in turn affirmed the trial court decision.
Whether or not Fransisco exclusively own the properties existing during their marriage.
No. SC held that the Francisco and Erminda are co-owners of the properties in question. The
marriage of Fransisco and Erminda is declared void ab initio by the trial court which was later
affirmed by the CA. Consequently, their properties shall be governed by the provisions of Article
147 of the Family Code.
These provisions enumerate the two instances when the property relations between spouses shall
be governed by the rules on co-ownership. These are: (1) when a man and woman capacitated
to marry each other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of
marriage; and (2) when a man and woman live together under a void marriage.
Under this property regime of co-ownership, properties acquired by both parties during their
union, in the absence of proof to the contrary, are presumed to have been obtained through the
joint efforts of the parties and will be owned by them in equal shares.
Article 147 creates a presumption that properties acquired during the cohabitation of the parties
have been acquired through their joint efforts, work or industry and shall be owned by them in
equal shares. It further provides that 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 formers efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.