Well you have a good question here. I just want to be sure I understand your situation correctly before I answer it.
You say you are separated from your wife. This means to me that you are not divorced, but legally separated correct? You say that your wife owns a home with her parents and that you are not on title. Are you on the mortgage for that home? Is there a mortgage for that home?
In many states, we can be on the title and not the mortgage because only one mate qualified for the mortgage, yet because you are married and have dower rights, you have a legal claim to the house in the event of a divorce.
This is kind of a delicate subject, and you must know that I'm not giving any legal advice here. Nor am I qualified to do so.
To determine if you are qualified for a first time home buyer program, it is important for you to realize that you must not be on any other mortgage right now. The link just above will help you understand the programs available to you.
So, assuming you are not on any mortgage at all I will go from here. I think that is what you're saying, if not please reply and let me know.
However, if you are still married and buy a home with a new mortgage, your wife may have dower rights to the home.
I see you live in California, I do not know the laws for that state. But you may want to consult with a lawyer before moving to far into the home buying process.
Again, assuming you are clear of any legal obligations, I personally feel that the best FHA home loans should be available to you. Feel free to visit the links on this page to read more about them.
In closing, just let me say why I feel the FHA mortgage is your best choice. The FHA Loan Requirements are the easiest to qualify for. They have low down payment requirements, minimal credit requirements and also allow you to use up to 3% seller concessions.
I hope this helps to answer your questions. I wish you the best in your pursuit of buying a home. Just be sure to do all of your homework before you do.
I offer tons of FREE advice at this sight and really thank you for coming by and asking a question. Please feel free to pay it forward and help other people you know looking for a home about my site.