What are the effects of the decree of legal separation?

Here’s a summary of what happens once a legal separation is obtained in the Philippines:

1. On your marital bonds.

You will be entitled to live separately from your spouse but the marriage bonds will not be severed, that means, you can not remarry. The man can’t live with another woman nor the woman with another man.


2. On your properties.

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Your property relations (either absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains) are dissolved and liquidated and your spouse (the offending party) shall have no right to any share of the net profits earned by the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, which shall be forfeited in favor of the children and if none to the innocent spouse.


a. What is the Absolute Community of Property and Conjugal Partnership of Gains?

The property relations between spouses is also known in legal terms as the property regimes.

In the Philippines, there are 4 kinds of regimes which govern the property relations of the spouses:

  • System of Absolute Community
  • System of Conjugal Partnership of Gains
  • System of Complete Separation of Property
  • A combination of the three systems above

Absolute Community is the regime of most marriages in the Philippines. If the couple doesn’t execute a pre-nuptial agreement prior to their wedding day, the system of the absolute community will be automatically selected as the property regime.

It shall consist of ALL properties owned by you and your spouse at the time of marriage and everything acquired after.

The following, however, shall not be included:

  • Property acquired DURING the marriage by gratuitous title (e.g. by donation or inheritance) including its income except if the donor expressly provides that it shall form part of the community property
  • Property for the personal and exclusive use of either spouse (e.g., underwear) except for pieces of jewelry
  • Property acquired before the marriage of a spouse who has legitimate children or grandchildren

While the system of absolute community is the default property regime now, it’s not the case prior to August 3, 1988 (when the Family Code took effect) during which the default regime was the system of conjugal partnership of gains.

Under the regime of the Conjugal Partnership of Gains, you and your spouse place in a common fund the proceeds, products, fruits, and income of your separate properties (including those acquired by your own efforts or by chance).

The following shall be the exclusive property of spouses and will not be part of the conjugal partnership:

  • Property acquired before the marriage
  • Property acquired before and during the marriage by gratuitous title, e.g. by donation
  • Property acquired by right of redemption, by barter or by exchange with property belonging to only one spouse
  • Property purchased with your exclusive money of the spouses

All properties acquired during the marriage are presumed to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved.


b. What constitutes Net Profits?

In the absolute community of property, net profits are the increase in value between the market value of the community property at the time of the celebration of the marriage and the market value at the time of its dissolution.

In the conjugal partnership of gains, the net profits are all the fruits of the separate properties of the spouses and the products of their labor and industry.

A detailed process of how you’ll arrive in computing the net profits is found in the case of Quiao vs. Quaio1.


3. On your children.

The custody of minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse.

The court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age unless the chosen parent is unfit.

The parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the court.


4. On the donation and inheritance.

After the finality of the decree of legal separation, you (as the innocent spouse) may cancel the donation you made to the offending spouse as well as cancel the designation of the offending spouse as your beneficiary in an insurance policy. Your spouse will also be disqualified from inheriting from you.

Go back to the main article: How to File Legal Separation in the Philippines: An Ultimate Guide



  1. Brigido Quiao v. Rita Quiao, G.R. No 176556 https://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2012/jul2012/gr_176556_2012.html (Supreme Court of the Philippines 2012)