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G. The Family

1. Concept of family

a. BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION

The family, being the foundation of the nation, is a basic social institution which public policy cherishes and protects. Consequently, family relations are governed by law and no custom, practice or agreement destructive of the family shall be recognized or given effect. (Article 149, Family Code)

b. FAMILY RELATIONS

Family relations include those:

1) Between husband and wife;

2) Between parents and children;

3) Among brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half-blood. (Article 50, Ibid.)

2. Effects on legal disputes

a. EARNEST EFFORTS, REQUIRED

GENERAL RULE:No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed. If it is shown that no such efforts were in fact made, the same case must be dismissed. (Article 151, Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: This rules shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of compromise under the Civil Code. (Paragraph 2, Article 151, Ibid.)

3. Family home

a. WHAT CONSTITUTES A FAMILY HOME

The family home, constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family, is the dwelling house where they and their family reside, and the land on which it is situated. (Article 152, Ibid.)

1) When deemed constituted

The family home is deemed 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 except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law. (Article 153, Ibid.)

2) Only 1 family home

For purposes of availing of the benefits of a family home, a person may constitute, or be the beneficiary of, only one family home. (Article 161, Ibid.)

3) Family residences

The provisions in this Chapter shall also govern existing family residences insofar as said provisions are applicable. (Article 162, Ibid.)

b. BENEFICIARIES

The beneficiaries of a family home are:

1) The husband and wife, or an unmarried person who is the head of a family; and

2) Their parents, ascendants, descendants, brothers and sisters, whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate, who are living in the family home and who depend upon the head of the family for legal support. (Article 154, Ibid.)

c. EXEMPT FROM EXECUTION, FORCED SALE, ATTACHMENT

GENERAL RULE: The family home shall be exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment.

EXCEPTIONS: When the family home is not exempt:

1) For nonpayment of taxes;

2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of the family home;

3) For debts secured by mortgages on the premises before or after such constitution; and

4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics, architects, builders, materialmen and others who have rendered service or furnished material for the construction of the building. (Article 155, Ibid.)

When a creditor whose claims is not among those mentioned in Article 155 obtains a judgment in his favor, and he has reasonable grounds to believe that the family home is actually worth more than the maximum amount fixed under the Family Code, he may apply to the court which rendered the judgment for an order directing the sale of the property under execution.

At the execution sale, no bid below the value allowed for a family home shall be considered. The proceeds shall be applied first to the amount mentioned in Article 157, and then to the liabilities under the judgment and the costs. The excess, if any, shall be delivered to the judgment debtor. (Paragraph 2, Article 160, Ibid.)

d. OWNERSHIP

1) ACP, CPG, Exclusive Property, Unmarried head of a family

The family home must be part of the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, or of the exclusive properties 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.(Article 156, Ibid.)

2) If under a conditional sale

Nevertheless, property that is the subject of a conditional sale on installments where ownership is reserved by the vendor only to guarantee payment of the purchase price may be constituted as a family home. (Paragraph 2, Article 156, Ibid.)

3) May be alienated or encumbered

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. (Article 158, Ibid.)

d. 10-YEAR PROTECTION ON FAMILY HOME

The family home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of ten years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary, and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. This rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the property or constituted the family home. (Article 159, Ibid.)

e. VALUE OF FAMILY HOME

In any event, if the value of the currency changes after the adoption of this Code, the value most favorable for the constitution of a family home shall be the basis of evaluation. (Paragraph 2, Article 157, Ibid.)

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