Husband’s rights over house built by wife’s dad

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have a problem with my wife and my children. I hurt my 17-year- old child because of his own fault. I was forced to leave our house and I am now staying with my sister. I feel like I am only a burden to my sister so I wanted to return to our house. But my family does not want me back anymore as my wife is saying that I have no right over our house considering that it was built by my father-in-law on his land when he was still alive. There is still no partition between the heirs of my father-in-law. I have been staying in that house since our marriage and I have given a contribution of about P30,000 in the construction of its terrace. What are my rights over the house?
Simon P.

Dear Simon P,
A family home as defined under the Family Code as constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of the family is the dwelling house where they and their family reside, and the land on which it is situated. It is constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence.

From the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein, the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment xxx. The family home must be part of the pieces of property of the absolute community or the conjugal pieces of property, or of the exclusive property of either spouse with the latter’s consent. It may also be constituted by an unmarried head of a family on his or her own property (Articles 152, 153, 156, Family Code).

Based on your statements, it appears that your family has established your family home in a house and land belonging to your father-in-law, while the latter was still alive. The said house and land clearly do not belong to you and your wife’s absolute community or conjugal partnership because the same belongs to your father-in-law. When your father-in-law died, however, a part of the property became the exclusive property of your wife being an inheritance as one of the heirs. Thus, the house and land may have been considered as family home if your wife has permitted that the same be your family residence after the death of her father but only insofar as her share in the property is concerned. Unfortunately, even if the house and land may be considered as family home, you may be forbidden from living with your wife and family if there is valid and compelling reason for the exemption (Articles 68 and 69, Family Code). In your case, there might be a compelling reason to disallow you from residing in the family residence because, as you have stated, the reason why you were forced to move out is that you have hurt your child. Actually, the physical harm, regardless of your own personal reason, constitutes a violation of Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.” By reason thereof, your wife may even apply a protection order for your removal and exclusion from your residence pursuant to Section 8 (c) of RA 9262, to wit:

“The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:


c. Removal and exclusion of the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the petitioner, or permanently where no property rights are violated, and if respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent has gathered his things and escort respondent from the residence;


We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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


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