Can a wife compel her husband to live with her?

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Atty. Maria Dee A. Seares-Del Rosario
Protecting women and children

THERE are specially crafted laws that grant women special rights to protect and promote her interests. However, there is no law which gives women the compelling power to have their husbands live with them.

One of the cases elevated to the Supreme Court involved a husband and wife who were separated. When the husband’s health was failing years after, the wife alleged that her grown children prohibited their father from returning to their house to live with her. She filed a case in court, specifically a petition for the issuance of habeas corpus, in order to obtain custody of her husband.

The Supreme Court ruled that a writ of habeas corpus can be issued only in cases of illegal confinement or detention, where a person is illegally deprived of his liberty.

During the trial, it was determined that the husband still possessed his full mental capacity and that it was actually his choice not to see his wife.  

While the Court of Appeals granted the wife visitation rights, the Supreme Court declared that the wife cannot be allowed to visit the husband because it will be a violation of his constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court further ruled, “No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to live with his wife.

Coverture cannot be enforced by compulsion of a writ of habeas corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other process. That is a matter beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and woman’s free choice.” (Ilusorio vs. Bildner, et al. G.R. No. 13789, 2000)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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