WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF GAINS AND THE ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY OF PROPERTY?

Under Article 106 of the Family Code of the Philippines, the property regime of conjugal partnership of gains is characterized by the following: • The husband and the wife place in a common fund the a) proceeds; products; fruits; and income from their properties; b) those acquired by either or both spouses through their efforts; and/or c) those acquired by them through chance.

• The net gains or benefits obtained by either or both spouses shall be divided equally between them upon the dissolution of the marriage or of the partnership, unless otherwise agreed in the marriage settlements. In simple terms, under this property regime, the husband and the wife continue to retain ownership over their separate properties, whether owned prior to the marriage or thereafter. What they own in common are only those gains enumerated above. With this, what then are the differences between the conjugal partnership and the system of absolute community of property? Retired Court of Appeals Associate Justice Alicia V. Sempio-Diy in her book, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, enumerates the following differences (paraphrasing supplied):

As to the extent of separate properties covered. In a conjugal partnership, only the fruits and income of those separate properties owned by the spouses prior to the marriage become part of the common property. In the system of absolute community however, the whole of those separate properties become part of the community property.

As to the remainder after dissolution. Upon dissolution and liquidation of either the marriage or the property regime in a conjugal partnership, only the net profits are divided equally between the spouses or their heirs. The separate properties of said spouses are returned to each of them. In the system of absolute community, however, the net remainder of all the properties of the absolute community is the one divided among the spouses and heirs. The separate properties are not returned to each of the spouses; hence, there is a possibility that only one piece of property remains for division.

As to ease in the liquidation of the community property. In a conjugal partnership, there is difficulty in effecting the liquidation since there is a need to identify and return the separate properties of the spouses. Such identification may be quite tedious at times. In the system of absolute community however, liquidation is easy because there are no separate properties to speak of.

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