Are children of annulled marriages legitimate?
My father died on June 16, 2009. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend his burial. My father and mother were separated but they were legally married. My father contracted his second marriage in 1987 and during that time he was still married to my mother because their marriage was annulled in 1999 only.When I went home to the province on August 26, 2009, I met with my half sister who is a daughter of my father from another woman, not the second wife. She told me that when she was young, my father gave her deeds of sale of lands for her to keep. Out of respect for me, my sister gave me a copy of the said deeds. All of the deeds are under the name of my father.
Can I have the deeds of sale titled under my name? Am I a legal heir since I am the legitimate daughter? I have two siblings, one from the second wife and the other from another partner of my late father. If we are to divide the properties, how is the sharing? With what percentage will it be divided?Lou
Dear Lou,At the outset, you cannot have the properties titled under your name in the same way that you cannot transfer the deeds of sale in your name. This is simply because upon the death of your father, the said properties became part of his estate which should be divided among his compulsory heirs.
Obviously, you are considered as a compulsory heir of your father regardless of whether you are a legitimate or an illegitimate child of your father. Article 887 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines is categorical in its enumeration that legitimate and illegitimate children are considered as compulsory heirs of their parents.At this juncture, we would like to impress upon you that even if the marriage of your parents is annulled, you may still be considered as a legitimate child if the ground for their annulment is one of the grounds provided for by Article 45 of the Family Code.In this case, you are still considered as a legitimate child for the reason that in the case of annullable marriages, the marriage is valid until annulled.Additionally, you are deemed legitimate even after the declaration of nullity of the marriage of your parents if their marriage was declared null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity. Article 54 of the Family Code unequivocally declared, to wit:
“Art. 54. Children conceived or born before the judgment of annulment or absolute nullity of the marriage under Article 36 has become final and executory shall be considered legitimate. Children conceived or born of the subsequent marriage under Article 53 shall likewise be legitimate.”However, if the ground relied upon by your parents in seeking for annulment is not one of the above-mentioned grounds, then you will be considered as an illegitimate child in accordance with Article 165 of the same Code which provides, to wit:“Art. 165. Children conceived and born outside a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless otherwise provided in this Code.”This is also true in the case of your two siblings who were conceived and born outside of a valid marriage. They are considered as illegitimate children of your father.For the purpose of discussing your rights and of that your siblings to the properties subject of your query, we will assume that the said properties were solely acquired by your father after his marriage to your mother was annulled. We will assume further that the estate of your father consists of said properties only.If you are a legitimate child of your father, you are entitled to your legitime which is equivalent to one-half (1/2) of the estate in accordance with Article 888 of the New Civil Code, to wit:“Art. 888. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided.”On the other hand, your two siblings who are considered as illegitimate children shall have a share in the estate equivalent to one-half (1/2) of the share you received although their share shall be taken from the free portion of the estate. This is in accordance with Article 176 of the Family Code, to wit:“Art. 176. x x x The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. Except for this modification, all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in force.”On the other hand, if you are an illegitimate child wherein you are similarly situated with your siblings, then you and your two siblings will have to divide the entire estate equally provided your father has not left any will. Article 988 of the New Civil Code provides, to wit:“Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.”We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com or via text message (key in: Times dearpao and send to 2299)."
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"Are children of annulled marriages legitimate?"
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and updated on 14 September 2021