Conjugal property is property that belongs to both spouses.

A house and lot purchased by a married couple forms part of their conjugal property

The family home is often part of conjugal property.

When you marry, part or all of your property becomes conjugal property. Part or all of your spouse’s property also becomes conjugal property. Conjugal property can be formed in the following ways:

  • Conjugal partnership of gains
  • Absolute Community
  • Legal Separation
  • Other

These different ways of forming conjugal property come into play in different ways. If a prenuptial agreement was formed, then one of these property regimes can be picked. If not, then a default property regime comes into play based on the year of marriage. Conjugal property has several effects. It affects the disposal or encumbrance of property as both spouses must now agree. It is also a concern between separating spouses. As you can see, conjugal property is a topic of intense continuing interest.

Different property regimes dictate how conjugal property is divided in the event of a separation. In the picture, a married couple stand in front of their home.

The default property regime is absolute community of property but a preuptial agreement allows other conjugal property arrangements.

What property regime applies to your marriage?

The hands of husband and wife showing their agreement in the pre-nuptial agreement

Pre-nuptial safeguard your property but must be entered into before marriage.

If you have executed a valid agreement (or a pre-nuptial agreement) regarding your property before you married, then you are bound by this agreement. But what if you did not execute a pre-nuptial agreement before your marriage? In that case, you are governed by the default property regime in effect the year you married. Prior to August 3, 1988 – Conjugal Partnership of Gains On and After August 3, 1988 – Absolute Community of Property So, if you have no prenuptial agreement the date you were married determines your conjugal property regime.

What is Conjugal Partnership of Gains?

In a Conjugal partnership of gains, the conjugal property is the income or property generated by both spouses during the marriage. Each partner’s separate property remains theirs. It was the default marriage regime before Aug 3, 1988 and comes into effect when the marriage was celebrated. It can be waived before marriage through a marriage settlement.

A picture of the wife's assets and the husband's assets separately held.

In Conjugal Partnership of Gains, only properties and income gained during the marriage form the conjugal property.

How does conjugal partnership of gains differ from absolute community of property? In absolute community, properties separately held before the marriage become part of the conjugal property. In conjugal partnership of gains, only income and properties accumulated during the marriage are considered conjugal property. Conjugal partnership of gains can be rather complicated when you actually sit down to calculate it.

A married couple who bought a property through installment with the use of conjugal funds and exclusive funds

Is property bought on installment also part of the marriage? It depends.

For instance, what happens when a property is bought on installment before the marriage with both exclusive and joint funds? In this situation, it is part of conjugal property if ownership vests before the marriage. As you can see, things can quickly become complicated. These and several other rules from the Family Code [Art 116 to Art 120] dictate what conjugal property is in a marriage governed by conjugal partnership of gains.

Are there properties that are excluded from the Conjugal Partnership of Gains?

Yes. Excluded from the conjugal partnership of gains are exclusive properties prior to marriage, properties obtained by gratuitous title, or properties that are bought/redeemed/bartered with the exclusive money or property of the wife or husband. So, property owned by one spouse before marriage remain the property of that spouse even after marriage.

A husband and the car he owns exclusively.

Yes, some properties are excluded from the conjugal property in conjugal partnership of gains.

In addition, property that has been obtained by the exclusive money of one spouse is the property of that spouse. Lastly, property donated or inherited by a spouse during the marriage remains that spouse’s property. Everything that is exclusively acquired is separate from the conjugal partnership of gains.

What happens to the conjugal property of Conjugal Partnership of Gains when a marriage ends?

A picture showing a house broken in half and the spouses holding an order of dissolution of marriage

What happens to property when a marriage is dissolved?

If the marriage ended through annulment, the net proceeds of the marriage are divided jointly. If ended through legal separation however, the net proceeds of the marriage are awarded to the innocent spouse. These are very different outcomes. In addition, computing this type of separation can easily become quite confusing. It often takes effort to assess what these net proceeds are and become complex when more assets are involved. Read more in: How is the marriage property divided in Legal Separation? This explains how properties under conjugal partnership of gains are separated in legal separation cases.

What is Absolute Community of Property?

Absolute community of property means that all property owned by either spouse becomes conjugal property when the marriage is celebrated. Absolute community of property is the default marriage regime for marriages on or after August 3, 1988. What does this mean, exactly? Say you bought a condo prior to your marriage. Meanwhile, your partner owned a car before the wedding. After your marriage, your partner has a right to half of the condo while you have the right to half the car.

Husband and wife putting all their property in one pile to symbolize Absolute Community.

Absolute community of property means that all properties that each spouse owned before the marriage becomes conjugal property.

This happens automatically when the marriage is celebrated. While you can execute a prenuptial agreement before the marriage, you cannot do anything about it afterwards – the law specifically forbids it. This is problematic, especially when a marriage starts to fail.

Are there properties that are excluded from the conjugal property of Absolute Community?

Yes, properties acquired by gratuitous title, personal properties and properties from a former marriage with children are excluded from conjugal property.

A picture of the wife receiving jewelry. Jewelry forms part of conjugal property.

Yes, some assets such as jewelry are excluded from the conjugal property in absolute community.

  • Properties acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title. Gratuitous means “without pay”. In this case, these are properties inherited or donated during the marriage.
  • Property for the personal use of each spouse such as clothing, excluding jewelry.
  • Property acquired before that marriage by either spouse who has children by a former marriage. This is to protect the inheritance of the children of the previous marriage.

These are a very narrow classes of property. The vast majority of property in an absolute community marriage will usually fall under conjugal property.

What happens to property under Absolute Community when a marriage ends?

Husband and wife having issues or problems with their relationship and married life

Property is divided differently when a marriage ends under Absolute Community versus under Conjugal Partnerhip of gains..

This is the question I get most often. When a marriage is annulled or legal separation undertaken, what happens to the property of the spouses? If the legal proceeding is annulment, then the following would happen:

  • Net conjugal property is divided between the spouses
  • The family home goes to the spouse with whom the children live
  • Exclusive properties are returned to the spouses.

If the marriage ends through legal separation, then the innocent spouse is awarded all the conjugal properties. The court determines who the innocent spouse is – so you’d have to examine your case to determine who the innocent party would be. Read more in: How is the marriage property divided in Legal Separation? This explains how properties under absolute community are separated in legal separation cases.

What is Complete Separation of Properties?

A picture of a husband and wife and their separate properties

Properties of husband and wife are completely separate from each other

Complete Separation of properties is exactly as stated. It means that there is no conjugal property. Instead whatever is exclusively owned is retained by the owner-spouse before and during the marriage. This pertains to any income or livelihood as well as to property.

How do you avoid conjugal property?

You can choose your conjugal property regime – but only before you are married. Before marriage, Philippine law allows the future spouses to determine the property regime they want to govern their marriage. They may decide on any one of the 3 regimes available:

  1. Absolute community
  2. Conjugal partnership of gains
  3. Complete separation of property
A picture of the husband showing his options on which property regime to use

You have the option to decide what property regime to use – but only before marriage and through a prenup!

Additionally, the law provides a vague 4th option of “any other regime” — but only so long as the regime opted for is a valid one. A valid regime is a regime that doesn’t break Philippine laws, which means that it’s wise to get expert advice to draft it. A side note: These property regimes may not apply in certain instances – for instance, when there are 2 foreign spouses or when a contract is executed regarding property outside the Philippines. [Family Code, Art 80] To choose your property regime, you must execute what’s called a marriage settlement or a pre-nuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement or “pre-nup” is a valid agreement executed by the future spouses before marriage. It is signed by both parties and notarized. It can then be enforced against 3rd parties in the local civil registry or in the registries of the properties concerned.

A picture showing a Filipino citizen married to a foreign national and the properties involved.

Things become more complicated when there is a marriage between a foreigner and a Filipino.

Things are straightforward when the marriage is between 2 Filipinos and concerns only Philippine property – but what happens when there is a foreign element? Then things get a little tricky. In cases where a foreigner is married to a Filipino or a there is foreign property, a pre-nup has to decide how to address inevitable conflicts in foreign law. It may be possible to exclude these. However, you should really consult with legal counsel for these cases. In addition, you might want to consult counsel when you want to create a special pre-nup due to particular family situations. This might be when you have an interest in a family corporation and are executing the pre-nup to protect the company. Or, it may occur for properties you want to hold personally for sentimental or other reasons.

Is your inheritance part of conjugal property?

A picture of the wife showing her worries about her inheritance

Conjugal property may or may not include your inheritance

In absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains and complete separation of property, properties inherited during the marriage are excluded from conjugal property. However, inherited property forms part of conjugal property if you inherited prior to marriage and the estate was already settled. There are some ways to protect your property in event of a separation. These are admittedly a bit difficult so its really best to try to avoid the issue altogether by simply having a prenuptial agreement in place.

What is the right of an illegitimate child to conjugal property?

This depends on the facts. An illegitimate child is entitled to inherit from his parent. His parent’s portion will depend on the type of conjugal property regime in place.

A picture of a child receiving his share of the inheritance

An illegitimate child is entitled to a half of the share of a legitimate child

If absolute community is the property regime, half of the total property is the parent’s portion. Some exceptions may apply such as when a pre-nup is in place, when there is exclusive property, or when other provisions have been made. If conjugal partnership of gains is involved, then the parent’s share is half of the total income and assets generated during the marriage. This can be complicated to compute depending on how many assets there are and how long the marriage was. In complete separation of property, there is no conjugal property. Each spouse owns his own share.

A picture of a family grieving to the loss of the father of the family

When the deceased is married, the legal spouse will have a share of the property.

From his parent’s share, an illegitimate child usually receives ½ the share of a legitimate child.

What happens to the conjugal property after the death of a spouse?

When a spouse passes away, the conjugal property of absolute community ends and the property is shared among the heirs. Philippine law determines who the heirs are and how much they inherit. Even wills are subject to these laws, and must provide for the legal heirs or risk being void. Wills only are allowed to determine the inheritor for the so-called “free-portion” However, inheritance is not automatic. Estate taxes and other administrative items have to be accomplished for land to be retitled or shares transferred. Read more in: How to transfer land to heirs in the Philippines which discusses this 7-step process in detail.


  1. Wilfredo

    Is the property acquiared in another spouse in which I am living with is a conjugal property?
    Is the legal wife has the right to confiscate or take legal action in court all the properties I have?
    I have 4 kids to my common law wife and 17 years seperated to my legal wife.
    Thanks and hoping for the answers.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent you an email.

  2. Zes

    What if my husband has one ilegitimate child and one legitimate child with me and I acquired a property before we got married. Who will inherit my property? Is it possible to put only my name to the deed of sale and title since i am the only buyer.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Hi Zes:

      Are you a Filipino married to a Filipino?

      Where is the property?

      Did you have a pre-nuptial agreement?

      These factors – among others – determine who inherits and what law is applied.

      There is not enough information to really provide an answer but — In general, property becomes conjugal for Filipino couples. This means that your husband has a right to your property and his children after him after he passes away.

  3. Karokor

    I am Filipino and I recently found out that I have a half-brother (from my dad). My parents are married and never separated.
    I am currently working and is investing some money in our business and investing items in our house.
    What is the right of my half brother when the time comes that I will be managing our business/getting hold of the property?

    My concern is that it was my parents’ hard work and it would be unfair for my mom and myself if suddenly the other “family” gets hold of the share, which they never helped to begin with.
    I was never introduced formally to my half brother and as far as I know, my dad is providing him with sufficient needs until he graduates from college.

    I hope you could help me with this one.
    Thank you.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent an email.

  4. Rei

    Good day! I am married for 13 yrs however, we got separated now for 11 yrs (no annulment or legal separation). He has his own family now, and I’m still a solo parent to our daughter since he never provide any means of support. I am planning to acquire a real estate property. Will that make him entitled to a conjugal property? If so, is there any way that I can contest on his rights in case I acquire a property through inheritance or from my own expense? Thank you in advance.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent you an email.

  5. Sel

    Hi. My grandma bought a land for my parents during their marriage. Understand it is considered conjugal property for my parents. However my dad passed away 7 yrs back. My Mom wants to sell the land now. Does the kids have any right on that. Do we need to sign the deed of sell if she sells the land. Please advise.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent an email.

  6. Lan


    I’ll be getting married in a few months. I don’t want a prenup because it will have an emotional toll on my soon to be spouse. Isn’t it true that from what i read here, the inheritance that I will be getting is my exclusive property and will not be conjugal?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Inheritance received DURING the marriage remains the property of the inheritor only.

      • Maria

        If the inheritor dies during marriage, the properties will be divided as per law if there is no will? Half to spouse and half to kids? Or will they revert back to co-inheritors which were the siblings of the inheritor?

      • Lawyers in the Philippines

        Hi Maria:

        Can you further explain the situation?

        There isn’t enough detail to provide information.

        I would need citizenship, property details, family situation and other items to be able to provide data.

  7. Gilberto

    hi! my mom bought a land but she passed away and my dad sell a portion of this land.Does the children has the right or a say for selling this land.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines


      This is only general information as there is really not enough information to comment on your situation.

      If the property is conjugal property and one of the spouses has passed away, then the deceased spouse’s share will be inherited by his/her children and legal spouse.

      This information can change if the property was exclusive property, if there was a will and disinheritance was begun, as well as other factors specific to the situation.

  8. Vin

    My grand mother is 90 years old already ang she have first husband and she have two sibling for the fist husband. The older is already passaway long time ago. The other sibling sold thier land and as per them my grandmother dont have any right to the land ang to the money that they are getting. Just want to know if my grand mother have a right for the money or to the land.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent an email.

  9. vin

    Just want to ask if my grandmother have a right to their land. She have two sibling in her first husband that already dead and the older son is dead already. Her other son sold their land and as per them my grandmother dont have any right for that. Because she have other family. My grandmother is 90 years old now.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Answered on email.

  10. Nicole

    hi, good morning!

    My concern is that I am planning on buying a property (condo), me and my husband are still married although separated (not legally) but I’d like to understand what is the best way in safe-guarding the property that I am planning to buy without making it a conjugal property or without him running after that property. Are there work arounds? Thank you and appreciate your legal advise.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      There are risks.

      It is really better to annul the marriage.

      Also, when you die, he will have a share automatically.

  11. castiel


    My wife and I are separated for years but not legally. She now wants to buy a house and lot through a pagibig housing loan.
    Now, she is asking for my signature. I want to ask If i signed on her application for housing loan will I be liable to her debt if anything happens to her or if she will be incapable of paying her housing loan? Will I shoulder the cost of her housing loan?
    Does pag-ibig housing loan really require husband’s consent even if they are separated -in-fact. Can a separated-in-fact married couple not be able to buy a real property without the marital consent of each other? What will be the option if the wife or the husband does not want to sign the docs as requirement.
    Thank you

    • Lawyers in the Philippines


      This is actually why people go through annulment.

      Annulment clarifies property issues such as this.

      Otherwise property concerns may continue.

  12. Anna

    Just want to know if the first spouse have a right to the house acquired by the second wife and husband. The house’s deed of loan was in the names of both husband and wife. The house was acquired a decade after separation from the first wife. Additionally, though the first marriage was never annulled or legally dissolved, the first wife had had several children with different man and her infidelity was the caused of their separation. Additionally, part the house’s loan were from the second’s wife’s children. The house’s loan was transfer to Pag-ibig and were several times restructured and paid by the second’s wife’s child. Should the first wife has rights to this house?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines


      In general, the legal wife has rights to the property.

      The court would need to decide if you argue otherwise and this can be long and expensive.

      This is actually why most people go through an annulment.

      Annulment protects property rights.

  13. Obet

    I am Filipino and an only child. My parents were married in 1987 and are still living together. I just found out that I have three half-siblings who are all minors. My dad is not aware that I already know about his other family because we were never introduced. My dad is a co-owner of a company which was built after my parents were married. My father handles all the finances while my mom is a housewife. My dad bought two houses (one where we used to live in but now rent to tenants; and another where we live in now). Do my half-siblings have a right to my parents’ conjugal properties?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Yes, they do.

  14. Cheryl

    Hi, i just want to clarify something..
    My auntie passed away already, so her husband and 2 children wants to sell the property.. The question is.. Does the title needed to be transferred under the name of the husband before they can sell it…?
    Does the death of my aunt needs to be published in an orbituary?
    I hope to hear from you.. Thank u in advance..

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Some will execute an extrajudicial settlement with deed of sale.

  15. Obet

    Do we get equal share of my parents’ properties? Or is there a difference between legitimate and illegitimate when it comes to dividing the properties? Thanks for replying.

    • Obet

      Oh, I just read from the article above that my half-siblings get half of what I get. thank you for the info.

  16. Angel

    Hello. I am Filipino and have two children. I had my first child with my ex-boyfriend. We separated and after more than a decade, I met another man, the love of my life and married him in 2016. That’s when I got pregnant with my 2nd child. After marriage, I inherited some land from my mother. I understand that it is my personal inheritance, but what I want to know is how my 2 kids will divide it in the future when both my husband and I are gone. Since this is a personal property and has nothing to do with my husband, does the legit and illegitimate child concept still considered? I just want to know if my 1st child will get an equal share as that of his brother. Thank you for reading.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent an email.

  17. Melissa

    Hi. My mother inherited a land (through donation) from her parents years after she got married to my father. They got married in 1985. This inherited land has been an empty lot for years but recently, my mom had a simple building constructed over it, and it now functions as a small canteen. My parents have been separated (but not legally) for 21 years. I know the land is my mom’s personal property but what about the building and earnings we get from it? Is the building (and earnings) conjugal or is it still considered my mom’s personal property?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Hi Melissa:

      It is probably part of conjugal property as it was created during the marriage and as such could be conjugal property. It would need to be argued and proven in court, if it came to that.

  18. Leila

    Hello. My mother just sold her properties and plans on giving me and my siblings cash (as inheritance). I am married and with children. I want to know if inheritance in form of cash considered personal property? I understand that with properties like land, you can prove that it is inheritance through deed of donation or inheritance, but for cash, is there a written document we can use to prove it is inherited so that it does not become conjugal?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      As this is gratuitous title, this should be excluded from conjugal property.

      Note it must clearly be a gift, donation or inheritance.

  19. melody

    Hi i am melody

    I just want to know what the are the rights of ilegitimate child to the property of my father and what is our right also as legitimate siblings and also my mother
    who passed away long time ago, thankyou

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      If your father was a Filipino and there was no will, then the property will be given to his legal wife and all his children, legitimate, illegitimate or legally adopted. An illegitimate child will generally get 1/2 of a legitimate child.

      There is not enough information to comment specifically on the shares each will receive in your case.

  20. Mai Mai

    Hi, my 83 year old aunt is selling her property. But she is married before and has not been legally separated from her husband who had abandoned her. Problem is, the buyers are asking for her husband to sign too the documents since she is technically married but my aunt does not know where she can find her exhusband because they have separated for almost 30 years already. The property was bought by my aunt when she was still single around year 1972 and she got married by year 1980. Is her husband still has rights over the property even it was acquired by my aunt before their marriage?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Hi Mai Mai:

      It seems your aunt is under Conjugal Partnership of Gains.

      As such, the property she bought when she was single is still exclusively hers.

      This information of when she was married is very important. If she was married under the current property scheme, then the property forms conjugal property.

      But since she was married when Conjugal Partnership of Gains was in effect, then it belongs to her exclusively. Please note this distinction.

  21. anne

    my deceased father has a share of land from his parents, but the title is still as a whole and has not been subdivided (though his and his siblings names are all enumerated in the mother title with specific measurement of what they are entitled). my question now is how will be the partition between me (who is illegitimate) and my other siblings? my father is legally married to his 1st wife with 8 kids (minus 1 who passed away already). the year of their marriage is 1958. so basically, living spouse + 7 living legitimate children + 3 illegitimate children. the legal children are asking me now to pay them off instead as they want their share. me and my mother are the ones staying at my father’s property as they’ve been together for more than 30yrs already. the legal children are now claiming on their legality so i might just execute a formal document to settle them, as to have a peace of mind as well. hope you can help me. thanks.

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Sent an email on this.

  22. Michelle

    My mother passed away recently. When she was alive, she had her bank account named after her “and/or” my sister, so that my sister can deposit or withdraw money in her behalf. Note that all the cash deposited in this account was our mother’s money. Now that our mother is gone, is there a way for us other siblings to inherit money from our mother’s bank account? Or does my sister who share “ownership” of the account (although she never deposited her own money in there) gets to take all the cash from that account?

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      You and your other siblings would inherit your mother’s share of the account.

      Your sister would maintain ownership over her share of the account.

  23. Katrine

    I am separated with my husband (not legally) for 5years. I bought a land property of my own expense. Does that considered as conjugal property? I don’t want him running over my property afterwards

    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Yes, he has a right to it if bought during the marriage.


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