The realization and protection of the right of family members to the dwelling space

Inga Kudinavičiūtė-Michailovienė

Abstract


After registration of their marriage, a man and a woman acquire a new legal status: they become spouses and create family relations, accompanied by specific rights and duties. The realisation of these rights and duties may be restricted by a marriage contract and imperative provisions of the Civil Code. The Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (in power since 1 July 2001) set forth a brand new approach towards property relations of the spouses by establishing such novelties as family assets and the legal regime thereof, marriage contract, etc. The extended scope of legal regulation of property relations was determined by the need for legal clarity in this field in order to protect and secure the rights and legitimate interests of the spouses themselves, their children, and of third persons who may have claims related to the family assets. The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, while declaring a special protection of family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood (Art. 38), also secures the inviolability of a private dwelling (Art. 24), because the dwelling is a key prerequisite for living together in a family. Taking into consideration the Constitutional Provisions, examining the provisions of the Civil Code and the established court practice, this article analyses the concept of family members, realisation and security of their right to dwelling space, specificity of family assets and their regime, as well as the possibilities to meet the claims of third persons while addressing the issues of use, ownership transfer and division of dwelling of the spouses.
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania does not provide the direct family concept. Usually various legal acts give different concepts of the family or family member or they even contradict each other. Therefore, practice faces many problems while setting the extent of each family members‘ rights and duties. The analysis of court practice leads to a conclusion that the interpretation of legal provisions securing family members‘ rights to the dwelling space is ambiguous (The Civil Code art. 3.88- 3.86). Sometimes it even contradicts the principles of sense or justice and other legal provisions which determine the realization and protection of children rights and legitimate interests of the owner of the property. Consequently, it might be suggested that each time both declaratively state the purpose of applied provisions and aspire to an optimal dispute to secure a balance of interests for all sides – family members (children, spouses) and honest third persons.

Keywords


family; family members; family assets; legal regime of the property; cohabitants; family dwelling

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236