My mother-in-law demands loan payment from us but denies sharing her land

By Thu Hong   April 2, 2024 | 03:52 pm PT
My husband and I shoulder the financial burden of the interest on the bank loan for my mother’s residence, yet she is reluctant to grant us a segment of her land for the acquisition of property in Hanoi.

I have been married for a decade now, and I and my two sons are residing in a leased dwelling in Hanoi. My husband’s occupation in the construction sector entails his returning home merely two to three times each month, each visit lasting roughly two days, leaving me as the primary earner, caregiver, educator, and nurturer of our offspring. This predicament is not lost on my mother-in-law.

Originating from a financially challenged family, my husband was brought up by his mother, while his uncle took on the responsibility for his younger sibling. A considerable landholding is possessed by his family in his hometown.

In 2019, my husband, my mother-in-law, and I amalgamated our finances to erect a domicile in his native town, incurring a cost of approximately VND700 million (US$28,144), which resulted in a debt totalling about VND150 million to the bank and our kin.

My mother-in-law’s contribution to the construction was about VND150 million, my own contribution was near VND50 million, and it has been us continuing with the interest payments in lieu of my mother-in-law to this day. Consequently, for over a decade, the earnings of my husband have been devoted to settling the mortgage, sparing minimal for our immediate family’s expenditures.

My current aspiration is to secure a plot of land in Hanoi to establish a stable foundation for our children’s future. The savings I managed to accumulate amounted to merely half of the required sum to purchase the envisaged land.

Thus, I broached to my husband the idea of his mother parting with a section of her rural land, enabling us to sell it for funds to invest in Hanoi property. I impressed upon him to convey to his mother our willingness to persist in covering the ongoing house loan.

Nonetheless, my husband exhibited hesitance in relaying my proposition to his mother, prompting me to directly approach my mother-in-law with the discussion. Responding to me, she expressed concerns that divesting the rural land could preclude its reacquisition later on. She further argued that procuring land in Hanoi is a venture for my husband and myself, questioning the necessity of her rural land’s sale.

Even when I highlighted our continuous payment of the loan for her residence, with the intention of continuing, given her old age and the financial incapacity of my husband’s younger brother and his spouse, she countered by stating the loan payments were my husband’s endeavor, not mine, thereby denying me any leverage in persuading her to sell the rural land.

My retort was elevated in tone, clarifying that I was not imposing, but merely suggesting the relinquishment of a land portion to facilitate our acquisition in Hanoi. My frustration led me to assert that, were I to prioritize selfishness, I would cease the loan repayments for her house by my husband, redirecting those funds towards securing our children’s prospects here.

This conversation led to my mother-in-law angrily returning to her hometown. A week has passed without communication from either side, leaving me contemplating whether to apologize. What has been preventing me from doing so is that despite knowing my contributions and the sacrifices my husband and I have made for over a decade, she remains steadfast in her stance.

I am left questioning the appropriateness of my actions towards her and seeking advice on the matter. What should I do now?

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