What are the legal ramifications of living with a Filipina?  Like most Filipino law it is complicated.

First, if you find yourself in a legal battle with a Filipino, don’t expect it to go well for you.  It isn’t law but from everything I have seen there is a strong bias toward the locals in the Philippine judicial system.

There is no specific time period for when living together in the Philippines becomes a common law marriage.  The standard is simply “Live exclusively with each other.”  That could be just one day.  It is completely open to interpretation by the judge.

What are the rights of your live in partner?  Half of everything.  From Article 147 of the Philippine Family code:

…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.

Your partner doesn’t have to show they contributed equally or at all.  They get half.

philippines wedding attire

Traditional Wedding Attire in The Philippines

Now the above doesn’t apply if they didn’t have the capacity to marry you.  However, if you’re living with a Filipina that is still legally married then the presumption of participation is still there.  The difference is, if you can show they didn’t participate then the property will not go to her.  It is still up for you to show she didn’t.  That would mean there is a lot of room for bias in her favor.

Now this will really bug most people but if she does prove it, it doesn’t go to her directly.  It goes to her valid marriage.  In other words, it goes to her husband!

I bet I see some red faces out there now!  Some indignant looks of “No way in hell.”   I understand the indignation.   Look, if you want to have a pretty little Filipina that is still married to a scum bag deadbeat that won’t support his kids, do it.   Live life by the day. Enjoy your time with her.  Assume though anything you share with her is a gift.  A gift once given is gone.  Consider half of what you earn here as a gift!  Where it goes after you split shouldn’t be the issue, let it go.  Move on and find someone else to share your time with.

Before you get into a situation where there is real money involved, you should probably talk to a Filipino attorney.  If you’re talking about  your social security pension, forget it and move on.  I could easily be wrong because I’m no lawyer but I don’t think she’ll be able to get any of your pension.

Honestly, if you’re going to split with a girl in the Philippines, your best option may be to just leave the country.  I wouldn’t plan on coming back either.   Immigration could be looking for you once you get back.  I hope I don’t ever have to face these legal issues.  Hopefully Jessie wont get sick of me.  :)

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Filed under: Living In The Philippines

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