Child’s need for support must be established and demand must be made

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My father left me and my mother when I was 10 years old. I am now 21. It has been my mother who has supported me since the day my father left. Even then, at such a young age, I knew our life was difficult as my mother had to make both ends meet. She would even resort to obtaining loans after loans after loans. I just want to know if I can still demand support from my father considering that my mother passed away two years ago.

My parents were married years before I was born, but were never separated nor annulled by the court. How about “back support,” can I ask for it from him as well? I need it to pay off some of the loans I had to take after the demise of my mother. My mother and her side of the family never sought financial help from my father as they were firm in their decision to never communicate with him. Your advice will be highly appreciated.
Meli

Dear Meli,
Our laws clearly state that parents are obliged to provide financial support for their children. Given that, as you have mentioned in your letter, you are a legitimate child of your father, you are well-entitled to support. This can be gleaned from the provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines which provide the following:

“Art. 174. Legitimate children shall have the right:
x x x
(2) To receive support from their parents, their ascendants, and in proper cases, their brothers and sisters, in conformity with the provisions of this Code on Support;
x x x
Art. 195. 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:
x x x
(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;
x x x”


Accordingly, you can demand support from your father notwithstanding your mother’s demise. However, we wish to emphasize that you may only claim support for your needs insofar as your education is concerned considering that you are now beyond the age of majority. Article 194 of the said Code provides:

“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. x x x”

It can be gleaned from the foregoing that while the first paragraph of Article 194 mentions that support comprises of everything that is indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, the second paragraph explicitly states that only support for education may be demanded even beyond the age of majority.

Insofar as your desire to claim for what you coined as “back support,” we believe that this cannot be done at this point considering that there is no showing that you or your mother demanded support in the past. In fact, you even mentioned that your mother and her family were firm in their decision not to communicate with your father. As stated under Article 203 (1) of the Family Code of the Philippines:

“The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.” (Emphasis supplied)

Our Supreme Court has also declared that support should only be paid if the need thereof has been established and demand for the same has been made. It cannot be insisted when no demand was made in the first place, even if the person demanding is entitled thereto. In the case of Jocson vs.The Empire InsuranceCompany(103 Phil. 580, April 30, 1958), it is stated that:

“x x x Support does include what is necessary for the education and clothing of the person entitled thereto (Art. 290, New Civil Code). But support must be demanded and the right to it established before it becomes payable (Art. 298, New Civil Code; Marcelo v. Estacio, 70 Phil., 215). For the right to support does not arise from the mere fact of relationship, even from the relationship of parents and children, but “from imperative necessity without which it cannot be demanded, and the law presumes that such necessity does not exist unless support is demanded” (Civil Code of the Philippines, Annotated, Tolentino, Vol. 1, p. 181, citing 8 Manresa 685). In the present case, it does not appear that support for the minors, be it only for their education and clothing, was ever demanded from their father and the need for it duly established. The need for support, as already stated, cannot be presumed, and especially must this be true in the present case where it appears that the minors had means of their own. x x x”(Emphasis supplied)

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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