Philippine Prenuptial Agreement 101
Preparing a prenuptial agreement in the Philippines is relatively easy since Philippine laws do not require the agreement between the future spouses to be registered in a government office to be binding between the parties.
However, in order to be assured of the authenticity of the agreement, it is a good idea to execute the prenuptial agreement in a public document. Also, as security for the properties which may be affected by the agreement, and in order to bind third parties, Philippine law requires the recording of the prenuptial agreement in the Local Civil Registry where the marriage is celebrated, and at the Register of Deeds of the province where the affected property is located.
In the Philippines, the term prenuptial agreement is used interchangeably with premarital agreement or ante-nuptial agreement.
Under the Family Code of Philippines, the prenuptial agreement, which must be in writing, should be executed prior to the celebration of the marriage, and signed by the future spouses. Any modification or amendment thereto may only be allowed before the celebration of the marriage.
Manila Visa, however, stresses that both the Local Civil Registry and the Register of Deeds will not allow the registration of the prenuptial agreement unless the marriage has been celebrated for the logical reason that the said agreement shall take effect only after the celebration of the marriage.
Manila Visa further explains that if the marriage settlement does not specifically provide which law shall govern the property relations of the future spouses, the general rule is that Philippine laws pertaining to the law on property shall govern all the properties involved.
This rule, however, does not apply in any of the following instances:
a) Where both spouses are aliens;
b) With respect to the extrinsic or formal validity of contracts executed outside the Philippines pertaining to properties situated outside the Philippines;
c) With respect to the extrinsic validity of contracts, which, although executed in the Philippines, pertains to properties situated outside the Philippines.
Under Philippine laws, all provisions stipulated in the prenuptial agreement in consideration of the future marriage shall be rendered void if the marriage does not take place. However, all the other stipulations which do not depend on the celebration of the marriage shall be considered valid and binding.
In the actual drafting of the prenuptial agreement, Manila Visa advises clients to attach in the agreement a list of all the assets, liabilities, approximate current income, expected gifts and inheritances, and all the other separate properties of both parties prior to the celebration of marriage in order to avoid confusion later in the marriage.
“Separate Properties” of the spouses may be defined as all their separate real or personal properties, whether consisting of rights, titles, or interests to said properties, wherever they may be located, prior to the celebration of the marriage.
In the same manner that all the separate properties of each spouse brought into the marriage shall remain in their full ownership during the marriage, all the debts and obligations incurred by a spouse prior to the celebration of the marriage shall accordingly remain to be the responsibility and obligation of said lender/borrower spouse.
Other collateral provisions, such as support for the children or the daily expenses of the family, and other related matters agreed upon by the parties may likewise be stipulated in the prenuptial agreement provided it is not contrary to law or public morals.
If one of the parties has children from a previous marriage, the future spouses may also provide a stipulation in the prenuptial agreement so that certain assets shall be reserved for the welfare of the children.
Manila Visa, however explains that under Philippine laws, the welfare of the children from a previous marriage is already protected by reserving the assets of the previous marriage for the benefit of said children. Thus, such a stipulation in the prenuptial agreement becomes necessary only if the future spouses decide to grant upon the said children additional properties other than what is provided for by the law.
Any form of agreement or contract is allowed and there is no prohibition or requirement as to the external or formal validity of the contract, as long as there was no duress, undue influence, or vitiated consent upon any of the parties, in the execution of the agreement.