Family home protection act, 1976

Enactment Date12 July 1976
Act Number27

Number 27 of 1976







Family home.


Alienation of interest in family home.


Consent of spouse.


Conduct leading to loss of family home.


Payment of outgoings on family home.


Adjournment of proceedings by mortgagee or lessor for possession or sale of family home.


Modification of terms of mortgage or lease as to payment of capital sum.


Restriction on disposal of household chattels.




Joinder of parties.


Registration of notice of existence of marriage.


Restriction of section 59 (2) of Registration of Title Act, 1964.


Creation of joint tenancy in family home: exemption from stamp duty and fees.




Short title.

Acts Referred to

Statute of Limitations, 1957

1957, No. 6.

Conveyancing Act, 1882

1882, c. 39.

Married Women's Status Act, 1957

1957, No. 5.

Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964

1964, No. 7.

Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976

1976, No. 11.

Registration of Deeds Act, 1707

1707, c. 2.

Registration of Title Act, 1964

1964, No. 16.

Number 27 of 1976





1.—(1) In this Act, except where the context otherwise requires—

“conduct” includes an act and a default or other omission;

“conveyance” includes a mortgage, lease, assent, transfer, disclaimer, release and any other disposition of property otherwise than by a will or a donatio mortis causa and also includes an enforceable agreement (whether conditional or unconditional) to make any such conveyance, and “convey” shall be construed accordingly;

“the court” means the court having jurisdiction under section 10;

“dependent child of the family”, in relation to a spouse or spouses, means any child—

(a) of both spouses, or adopted by both spouses under the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1974, or in relation to whom both spouses are in loco parentis, or

(b) of either spouse, or adopted by either spouse under the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1974, or in relation to whom either spouse is in loco parentis, where the other spouse, being aware that he is not the parent of the child, has treated the child as a member of the family,

who is under the age of sixteen years, or, if he has attained that age—

(i) is receiving full-time education or instruction at any university, college, school or other educational establishment and is under the age of twenty-one years, or

(ii) is suffering from mental or physical disability to such extent that it is not reasonably possible for him to maintain himself fully;

“family home” has the meaning assigned by section 2;

“household chattels” has the meaning assigned by section 9 (7);

“interest” means any estate, right, title or other interest, legal or equitable;

“mortgage” includes an equitable mortgage, a charge on registered land and a chattel mortgage, and cognate words shall be construed accordingly;

“rent” includes a conventional rent, a rentcharge within the meaning of section 2 (1) of the Statute of Limitations, 1957 , and a terminable annuity payable in respect of a loan for the purchase of a family home.

(2) References in this Act to any enactment shall be construed as references to that enactment as amended or extended by any subsequent enactment, including this Act.

(3) (a) A reference in this Act to a section is a reference to a section of this Act, unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended.

(b) A reference in this Act to a subsection is a reference to the subsection of the section in which the reference occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some other section is intended.

Family home.

2.—(1) In this Act “family home” means, primarily, a dwelling in which a married couple ordinarily reside. The expression comprises, in addition, a dwelling in which a spouse whose protection is in issue ordinarily resides or, if that spouse has left the other spouse, ordinarily resided before so leaving.

(2) In subsection (1) “dwelling” means—

(a) any building, or

(b) any structure, vehicle or vessel (whether mobile or not),

or part thereof, occupied as a separate dwelling and includes any garden or portion of ground attached to and usually occupied with the dwelling or otherwise required for the amenity or convenience of the dwelling.

Alienation of interest in family home.

3.—(1) Where a spouse, without the prior consent in writing of the other spouse, purports to convey any interest in the family home to any person except the other spouse, then, subject to subsections (2) and (3) and section 4, the purported conveyance shall be void.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a conveyance if it is made by a spouse in pursuance of an enforceable agreement made before the marriage of the spouses.

(3) No conveyance shall be void by reason only of subsection (1)—

(a) if it is made to a purchaser for full value,

(b) if it is made, by a person other than the spouse making the purported conveyance referred to in subsection (1), to a purchaser for value, or

(c) if its validity depends on the validity of a conveyance in respect of which any of the conditions mentioned in subsection (2) or paragraph (a) or (b) is satisfied.

(4) If any question arises in any proceedings as to whether a conveyance is valid by reason of subsection (2) or (3), the burden of proving that validity shall be on the person alleging it.

(5) In subsection (3), “full value” means such value as amounts or approximates to the value of that for which it is given.

(6) In this section, “purchaser” means a grantee, lessee, assignee, mortgagee, chargeant or other person who in good faith acquires an estate or interest in property.

(7) For the purposes of this section, section 3 of the Conveyancing Act, 1882 , shall be read as if the words “as such” wherever they appear in paragraph (ii) of subsection (1) of that section were omitted.

Consent of spouse.

4.—(1) Where the spouse whose consent is required under section 3 (1) omits or refuses to consent, the court may, subject to the provisions of this section, dispense with the consent.

(2) The court shall not dispense with the consent of a spouse unless the court considers that it is unreasonable for the spouse to withhold consent, taking into account all the circumstances, including—

(a) the respective needs and resources of the spouses and of the dependent children (if any) of the family, and

(b) in a case where the spouse whose consent is required is offered alternative accommodation, the suitability of that accommodation having regard to the respective degrees of security of tenure in the family home and in the alternative accommodation.

(3) Where the spouse whose consent is required under section 3 (1) has deserted and continues to desert the other spouse, the court shall dispense with the consent. For this purpose, desertion includes conduct on the part of the former spouse that results in the other spouse, with just cause, leaving and living separately and apart from him.

(4) Where the spouse whose consent is required under section 3 (1) is incapable of consenting by reason of unsoundness of mind or other mental disability or has not after reasonable inquiries been found, the court may give the consent on behalf of that spouse, if it appears to the court to be reasonable to do so.

Conduct leading to loss of family home.

5.—(1) Where it appears to the court, on the application of a spouse, that the other spouse is engaging in such conduct as may lead to the loss of any interest in the family home or may render it unsuitable for habitation as a family home with the intention of depriving the applicant spouse or a dependent child of the family of his residence in the family home, the court may make such order as it considers proper, directed to the other spouse or to any other person, for the protection of the family home in the interest of the applicant spouse or such child.

(2) Where it appears to the court, on the application of a spouse, that the other spouse has deprived the...

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