A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is not mandatory in the Philippines. Under the Philippine laws, a prenup is called "marriage settlement," under the Family Code. It is a legal contract where a couple would agree before marriage on how their assets will be handled in the event of a separation. While a prenuptial agreement might be seen by others as preempting the marriage, parents believe that it provides a sense of security and peace of mind to both parties.
Parents on signing a prenuptial agreement: 'Yes, it's important'
In a survey, Smart Parenting asked its 2 million followers on Facebook whether they are in favor of signing a prenup. About 80 percent of the respondents said yes, saying that they have no issues with it.
"Nothing is permanent. If both are mature enough, they will agree. Love is out of the question," one user said.
One user meanwhile hopes that signing a prenup would be a part of the pre-marriage counseling or seminar, so that the couples will be well-versed about this topic and develop a better understanding on the pros and cons of this settlement.
Another one said, a prenup could be a proof that one's partner has clean intentions in marriage, "With or without a prenuptial, a person must respect the partner’s property, especially if it’s pamana. 'Wag dapat pakialaman."
"If hindi ka naman binabastos o minamaliit ng fiance mo in asking for a prenup, then it's perfectly fine to sign one." —Atty. Bernice Piñol-Rodriguez
For Mommy Love Cosio, a marriage coach and member of the Smart Parenting Mom Squad, couples should first talk about the purpose why they would sign a prenuptial agreement, and that it shouldn't be degrading to either parties.
She said, "We are already in this era that women can make a lot of money, earn at par or even more than what men can. There's nothing wrong about that, but we need to draw the line on how can a woman submit to her husband beyond the security of "money" or material wealth and how men can sacrifice for his wife to provide for the family they are building."
For Mommy Rosie Domingo, if her husband was well-off before she married him, she would be the one to offer to sign even before she gets asked to, "Para hindi ako ma-offend," she explains.
There's no problem at all with signing a prenup, said Daddy Ivan Jose. "As long as you are both aligned with the purpose, you are both confident (financially), and you are both sure of yourselves that you are in it for the long-term. It all boils down to marrying for the right reasons so that you'll have nothing to fear or worry about."
Signing a prenup is also not an issue for Mommy Dyan Gayas, "especially if galing sa hirap 'yung tao, and they worked hard for it. I'm sure they don't want to go back to where they were."
What matters, she said, is that both of you don't have bad intentions, then it's okay to sign a prenup.
Another take: 'What is the purpose of marriage?'
Some parents who are not in favor of signing a prenup highlight the value of marriage based on their faith. "You can't marry someone you don't trust. Marriage is about God, and [a] prenup for me is about money. If your money is more important to you than marriage, don't settle yet," one user said.
JPaul Hernandez, a dad and preacher who is also finishing his master’s degree in pastoral ministry, majoring in family counseling, shared his thoughts, "Ask the question: what is the purpose of marriage, and why are you getting married?"
"If you follow the original purpose of marriage, which is to be of mutual love and be united as one, and as a union, raise a family. That's why in the marriage, we declare, "To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. Because you are not two anymore, but one."
He continues, "The prenup divides your assets instead of fully embracing becoming one flesh."
For Daddy JPaul, signing a prenup becomes understandable if the couple's family has generational wealth, as it protects the clan, and not just the couple.
"What we have learned from mentors in family and business is to help unite everything and prepare the next generation. Whoever my children will marry, we will support and help them with their assets and push them to grow."
Mommy Victoria Dang shared the reason why her husband, whom she said was more successful than her before they got married, didn't ask her to sign a prenup. "He said, I always believe that when I commit, I give my 100 percent."
Disadvantages of not signing a prenuptial agreement
According to Atty. Bernice Piñol-Rodriguez, there are disadvantages if a couple doesn't sign a prenup.
"Kung meron kayong businesses or negosyo, baka hindi sang-ayon ang mga business partners ninyo na maging part-owner yung spouse ninyo sa inyong company," she explained in a video uploaded on Instagram.
Another disadvantage is when there is a family inheritance, "Sometimes merong tension within the siblings, minsan hindi sila sang-ayon na yung asawa mo maging parte sa hatian ng inheritance."
In cases of annulment or nullity of marriage, if there's no prenup or marriage settlement, dividing their conjugal properties becomes more difficult.
Atty. Rodriguez reminds, "If hindi ka naman binabastos o minamaliit ng fiance mo in asking for a prenup, then it's perfectly fine to sign one."
However, if you are the type of person whose values and belief system are firm that a married couple's assets and finances should be one, she suggests that the couple should reconsider getting married.
"Kasi if you can't agree on it now, then maybe you can't agree on it ever," Atty. Rodriguez concluded.
In a report by 24 Oras, Atty. Gaby Concepcion reminds that a prenuptial agreement will only be considered valid and effective if it is in writing and signed by both parties before marriage. It should also be notarized and registered to the local civil registry, and the Registry of Deeds.