• Determining the amount of support to children

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    dearpao

    Dear PAO,
    I have a live-in partner who is already married. He and his wife got married in 1999 but they separated in 2003. They have two minor children who are living with his wife. We met in 2004 and have been together for 8 + years. We have a 5-year-old child and we are expecting another one.

    My partner, with the help of his parents, provides support for his two legitimate children. He is sending them to a private school, gives their allowance, pays for their school service and medical insurance. We both have jobs, but our income is just enough to answer for his expenses and our family’s expenses. His wife, who is jobless, is demanding for more support for her children like allowance during vacation, groceries, etc. She’s threatening again my partner that she will file a complaint against him if her demands are not met.

    I just want to know whether there is a prescribed amount that a father has to give for the support of his children. Is it also possible for my partner to seek for the custody of his children since the mother is not capable of giving any financial support for their children?

    Thanks and more power!
    YMR

    Dear YMR,
    Our laws do not provide for a specific amount of support that a parent has to give in favor of his or her children. As a rule, 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, Family Code of the Philippines).

    Accordingly, the legitimate children of your partner are entitled to receive financial support which is sufficient to answer for their sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation. However, his wife must also take into consideration his financial capacity. As stated earlier, your partner is only bound to give support so much as his means would allow him. Therefore, if he is not financially capable to answer for his children’s vacation expenses or other less important expenditures, then he may not be forced to provide the same.

    Insofar as seeking for the custody of his minor legitimate children, he may do so as he is their legitimate father. As provided for under Section 2 of Administrative Matter No. 03-04-04-SC (Re: Proposed Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors), “A verified petition for the rightful custody of a minor may be filed by any person claiming such right. The party against whom it may be filed shall be designated as the respondent.” The petition must be filed with the Family Court of the province or city where your partner resides or where his minor children may be found.

    Nevertheless, there is no assurance that the court will grant him the custody of his minor children considering that the two of you are having an illicit affair. As provided for under Section 14, id, the court will consider the best interests of the minor children and will give paramount consideration to their material and moral welfare. The court will also have to consider, among others: (1) marital misconduct; (2) the most suitable physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and educational environment for the holistic development and growth of the minor; and, (3) preference of the minor who is over seven years of age and of sufficient discernment, unless the parent he or she has chosen is unfit.

    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.

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