I have been asking for support from the father of my 9-year-old son. He used to provide for the needs of our son but he has stopped sending money since August 2014. We had a small argument regarding the school I chose for our son next school year. He was not amenable to it because he finds the tuition too expensive. But I just want our son to have a quality education. Can I file a case against him? Can I ask him to pay for all the needs of our son and will it also be possible for me to ask support from him because I am the one taking care of our child?.
There is no doubt that it is the responsibility of every parent to provide support for his or her child to answer for the latter’s needs, whether it be for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education or transportation. The right given to every child to demand support and the responsibility imposed is expressly provided under our law (Article 194 and Article 195, Family Code of the Philippines [FCP]).
Such right is not limitless, however. Our laws have set certain parameters in demanding support. For instance, the amount of support to be given shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient (Article 201, FCP).
Applying the foregoing, in the situation that you have presented before us, we believe that while your son has the right to quality education, it should not be invoked to the point that it would be impossible for his father to provide. If the father of your child cannot afford to send him to an exclusive school because the tuition in the school you have chosen is too expensive and his means simply does not permit it, then it would not be proper to even demand it from him to begin with. It would be prudent for you to discuss with him his financial capacity and plans and endeavor in finding another school that is within his finances. There are still schools, both public and private, that are affordable and provide quality education.
Another legal consideration that you need to make is that you have as much responsibility to provide support for your child as does his father. It would not be fair and equitable to demand from him to pay for all the needs of your son if you have a source of income. It bears stressing that under the law: “When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each” (Article 200, FCP). We also do not think that it would be just for you to demand support from him because you are taking care of your common child. Remember that, as a parent, it is your legal obligation to take care of your child. You will not be allowed to seek compensation or gain from it at the expense of the father of your child.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed 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