I have an illegitimate son. I acknowledged my son in his Birth Certificate and he is using my surname. Years passed and I parted ways with the mother of my son. Despite the severed relationship with the mother of my son, I continued to provide him financial support.
Years passed and I met someone and got married and I also have a daughter with my wife. Knowing that I still have to continue to give support for my son, how much do I need to provide for him? I am only earning P14, 000.00.
With this amount of salary that I have, how much is the required amount of support I am obliged to give my son? I want to make things legal for the sake of my children. How will I go about it?
Dear Worried Daddy,
There is no hard and fast rule in determining the amount of support. It is dependent on the attendant circumstances and in accordance with the capacity of the giver and the needs of the recipient of support. Under the law, the amount of support shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient (Article 201, Family Code [FC] of the Philippines). Given the set of facts that you provided us, we cannot tell you exactly the amount of support your son is entitled. The amount of support will depend on how much your son will be spending and how much you are capable of giving, taking into consideration also all other attending circumstances, such as, the presence of your own family dependent on you for support.
Support may be classified as natural and civil. Natural support is based on the necessities of life whereas civil support is in accordance with the financial standing of the giver as well as the recipient. Thus, in determining the amount of support, factors, such as the capacity to give as well as the amount of income of the giver, must be considered. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family (Article 194, FC). The necessities of the recipient would depend on a lot of things but it must be noted that what is contemplated by law are the basic necessities which are food, shelter, clothing, medical attendance and education. Support for education also includes the fare in going to and from the school.
You said that you would like to make things legal for the sake of your children. The best thing for you to do is to talk to your wife and to the mother of your son. Try to work things out with the mother of your son and whatever you had agreed upon, you can reduce into writing. Just bear in mind that you have to abide by the terms and conditions you will agree upon for the benefit of your son.
If in certain terms, you have disagreements, you may file with the court a petition to determine the amount of support you are obliged to give. In the said case, the court is the best avenue to determine your capacity to give and the amount of support your child is entitled to. The court can fix the amount of support you are obliged to give but this does not mean that it will remain constant as fixed by the court. Under Article 201 of the FC, the amount of support shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same.
The amount of support changes when circumstances changes, like when your salary increases, the amount of support may likewise be increased.
We hope that we were able address your query. Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are included or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org