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Fuentes vs. Roca G.R. No. 178902, April 21, 2010
Contrary to the ruling of the Court of Appeals, the law that applies to this case is the Family Code, not the Civil Code. Although Tarciano and Rosario got married in 1950, Tarciano sold the conjugal property without the consent of his wife on January 11, 1989, a few months after the Family Code took effect on August 3, 1988.
In contrast to Article 173 of the Civil Code which gives the wife right to have the sale annulled during the marriage within ten years from the date of the sale, Article 124 of the Family Code does not provide a period within which the wife who gave no consent may assail her husband’s sale of the real property. It simply provides that without the other spouse’s written consent or a court order allowing the sale, the same would be void. The passage of time did not erode the right to bring such an action.
The Family Code took effect on August 3, 1988. Its Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains expressly superseded Title VI, Book I of the Civil Code on Property Relations Between Husband and Wife. Further, the Family Code provisions were also made to apply to already existing conjugal partnerships without prejudice to vested rights.
Art. 105. x x x The provisions of this Chapter shall also apply to conjugal partnerships of gains already established between spouses before the effectivity of this Code, without prejudice to vested rights already acquired in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws, as provided in Article 256. (n)