A letter came in today with a burning question popular among  separated or estranged couples. If this applies to you, read on:

Dear Sir

I worked at Jollibee as as a dishwasher and had been recently promoted. I lived in with my girlfriend whom I knew since elementary and we had 1 child. We never married. From my earnings, I allotted 40% for the child’s upkeep. I separated from her last year because she became very violent.

Last year she started demanding that I remit P20,000 a month for the support of my child. Much as I’d love to provide that much, I don’t have enough after taxes and expenses.  Now she says she will go to the fiscal . Am I obliged to provide what she asks?

Issues:

Does having an illegitimate child oblige the provision of support? If so, how much child support is guaranteed by the law.

Answer:

Yes. Support must be in proportion to capability.

Our law provides for the support of illegitimate children.

Article 195 of the Family Code of the Philippines states

” xxx Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:
(1) The spouses;
(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;
(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;
(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and xxx”

Before support can be obtained from you, you must have accepted filliation of the child so that her demand be invoked. Filliation is established by birth records in the civil registry or final judgment or admission in a private, public or handwritten instrument.  In the absence thereof, their legitimate filiation may be shown through their open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Art 175)
As you did not question filliation, you are obliged to continue providing support. The pressing matter now pertains to the amount of support owed. Strangely, the law is silent on this aspect. Let us look at pertinent laws:

Art 194 of the Civil Code describes the support you must provide:

Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.

The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.

Whereas Art 201 of the Civil Code answers, albeit vaguely, how much ought to be provided:

xxx the amount of support to be given shall be proportionate to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient xxx.

The bottomline is that you cannot be obliged to render the amount of P20,000.00 in monthly support for your child, even if the same is justified by the needs of your child. The simple fact is that you do not even produce resources approximating this figure.

 

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