Obligations with a Period

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What constitutes an obligation with a period – An obligation with a period is “one whose fulfillment a day certain has been fixed” and it is demandable “only when that day comes.”[1] The term “a day certain” refers to “that which must necessarily come, although it may not be known when.”[2]

Rules to observe if thing is lost, deteriorates, improves prior to day certain – If the thing is lost, deteriorates, or improves prior to the arrival of the day certain, the same rules above enumerated (see Rules if condition is for suspending efficacy of obligation to give) will be followed.[3]

Right of debtor to recover for any payment or delivery prior to arrival of period – Whether unaware of the period or believing that the obligation has become due and demandable, the debtor has the right to recover anything he paid or delivered (along with the fruits and interests) prior to the arrival of the period.[4]

Presumed for the benefit of both the creditor and the debtor – It is presumed that an obligation with a period has been established for the benefit of both the creditor and the debtor.[5] The presumption may be rebutted if it is established that the period is in favor of either one of them based on the tenor of the same or other circumstances.[6]

Same; Courts to fix period if none was stipulated – The courts may fix a period of an obligation if none has been stipulated if it can be inferred that one was intended from nature and the circumstances of the prestation.[7] The courts may fix the duration of the period if the parties agreed that the fulfillment of the obligation depends upon the will of the debtor,[8] such as when the debtor will pay “when his means permit him to do so.”[9] The courts will determine the appropriate period depending on what the parties may have probably contemplated based on the circumstances.[10] Once the period is fixed by the court, the parties cannot change them.[11]

When debtor loses right to make use of the period – The debtor loses his right to make use of the period:[12]

  • When after the obligation has been contracted, he becomes insolvent, unless he gives a guaranty or security for the debt;[13]
  • When he does not furnish to the creditor the guaranties or securities which he has promised;[14]
  • When by his own acts he has impaired said guaranties or securities after their establishment, and when through a fortuitous event they disappear, unless he immediately gives new ones equally satisfactory;[15]
  • When the debtor violates any undertaking, in consideration of which the creditor agreed to the period;[16] and
  • When the debtor attempts to abscond.[17]

[1] CIVIL CODE. Paragraph 1, Article 1193.

[2] Ibid. Paragraph 3, Article 1193.

[3] Ibid. Article 1194.

[4] Ibid. Article 1195.

[5] Ibid. Article 1196.

[6] Ibid.

[7] CIVIL CODE. Paragraph 1, Article 1197.

[8] Ibid. Paragraph 2, Article 1197.

[9] Ibid. Article 1180.

[10] Ibid. Paragraph 3, Article 1197.

[11] Ibid.

[12] CIVIL CODE. Article 1198.

[13] Ibid. Article 1198 (1).

[14] Ibid. Article 1198 (2).

[15] Ibid. Article 1198 (3).

[16] Ibid. Article 1198 (4).

[17] Ibid. Article 1198 (5).

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