My husband is planning to sell our house. We have been separated for almost two years because he chose to be with his other woman. I was left with the sole responsibility of raising our two sons and I am not getting any support from him. It was only his mother who told me about his plan. His mother frowns on his illicit relationship so she told me about the plan.
Is it legally possible for him to sell our house? My children and I are still living in this house and if we lose it, I do not know where else we would stay. It is already hard enough for me to solely support the needs of our children. Also, can I still go after him for the support of our children?
Husbands and wives are obliged to live together. The imposition of such obligation is in keeping with the very nature of a contract of marriage because it is, after all, a special contract of permanent union entered into by a man and a woman for the establishment of conjugal and family life. However, our courts may exempt one spouse from living with the other if he or she is living abroad or if there are other valid and compelling reasons which are still compatible with the solidarity of the family (Article 69, Family Code of the Philippines).
In the situation that you have presented before us, we find no legal justification for your husband to live separately from you and your children. Clearly, maintaining an illicit relationship with another woman while your marriage is still subsisting is violative of his obligations under the Family Code, and it may even constitute a criminal offense should you be able to prove that they are having sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances, or that they are cohabiting with each other in another place (Article 334, Revised Penal Code).
Moreover, your husband may not simply sell the house you and your children are living in without first obtaining your written consent to such sale. It is expressly provided for under Article 158 of the Family Code that, “The family home may be sold, alienated, donated, assigned or encumbered by the owner or owners thereof with the written consent of the person constituting the same, the latter’s spouse, and a majority of the beneficiaries of legal age. In case of conflict, the court shall decide.”
Insofar as your desire to seek financial support from your husband, you may still ask from him as long as he has resources or means to give the same and provided that you and your children can establish your needs for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation. It is, nonetheless, essential for you to demand support from him. Should he continue to renege from his obligation, you may consider filing an action for support against him.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org