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Opinion

Inexistent

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

The existence of a marriage is important in determining the property rights of persons living together. This is illustrated in this case of Joey.

Joey was validly married to Debbie with whom she had three children. While handling his family’s auto parts and services business, Joey met and fell in love with Angie who was one of their regular customers. When Debbie learned of Joey’s romantic relationship with Angie, she left him and went to America.

A year later, Joey and Angie decided to live together as husband and wife. And to appease Angie’s parents who were against the live-in relationship – being conservative Chinese, Angie asked Joey to go with her to an office somewhere in the City where they signed a purported marriage contract without having obtained any marriage license. Knowing of Joey’s marital status, Angie assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered.

During their period of cohabitation they bore two children and acquired seven properties covered by TCT No. 61722 registered in their names as spouses; TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Joey married to Angie; CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Angie married to Joey; and TCT Nos. 193656 and 25361 in the name of Angie as single individual. Joey also acquired by inheritance 37 properties which were registered in his name “married to Angie.”

After 12 years of living together however, the relationship between Joey and Angie ended when Angie left for Canada with her two children. She then filed a criminal action for Bigamy and falsification of public documents based on their marriage contract.

Joey, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the trial court on the ground that his marriage to Angie lacked formal requisites of a valid marriage. He also asked for partition of the 7 properties they acquired during the cohabitation in accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code which provides that only those acquired by both of them through their actual contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their contribution. In answer, Angie insisted that said article is not applicable and asked that all the 44 properties including the 37 properties inherited by Joey, since it was registered in Joey’s name, “married to Angie.”  Was Angie correct?

No. First of all, the marriage between Joey and Angie was not bigamous but was null and void and at the same time non-existent because of lack of a marriage license. For bigamy to exist, the second and subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. In this case, there was no subsequent marriage. Joey and Angie just signed a purported marriage contract without a marriage license. It was not even recorded in the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. In short, the marriage between Joey and Angie did not exist. They just lived together and represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. Thus only the properties acquired by them through their actual contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common, in proportion to their respective contributions under Article 148 of the Family Code.

Hence the 37 properties inherited by Joey from his father are to be excluded in the partition even if the titles show that it was in the name of Joey “married to Angie” which was only descriptive of his marital status. As regards the 7 other properties, TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Joey belong exclusively to Joey because they were acquired by him solely. Properties under TCT Nos. 1963656 and 253681, CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 are exclusive properties of Angie in the absence of proof of Joey’s actual contribution in their purchase. The property under TCT 61722 registered in both their names shall be owned by them in common, with Joey’s share accruing to his conjugal partnership with Debbie his first wife (Bangayan vs. Bangayan, G.R. No. 201061, July 3, 2013).

Email at: [email protected]

ACIRC

ANGIE

BANGAYAN

FAMILY CODE

JOEY

JOEY AND ANGIE

KNOWING OF JOEY

MARRIAGE

NAME

PROPERTIES

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