• Fathers not obliged to send kids to best schools

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    Dear PAO,
    I have a 5-year-old son. His father and I were supposed to get married 3 years ago but it did not push through because of the many differences that we have. Though I try to be civil with him, there are still times I resent him. Perhaps most of it is because of our financial set-up. He gives money for the needs of our son but it is still not enough. We even had a huge fight because I wanted to send our son in a private upscale school, but he only enrolled him in a regular pre-school. Is there a law that guarantees my son’s right to get a good education? Can I file a case for violation of R.A. No. 9262? Your soonest response will be highly appreciated.
    Cara

    Dear Cara,
    Article 195 of Executive Order (E.O) No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, mandates parents to provide support for their children, whether their relationship is legitimate or illegitimate. Support, as defined under Article 194 of the said code, includes education. As provided therein: “Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. x x x 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”

    The law does not particularly state that a child should be sent to a private school, more so to an upscale educational institution. This is because the law gives consideration to the capacity of the parent who is to provide such support. In fact, Article 201 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that, “The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.”

    In the case that you have presented before us, we believe that there is no reason for you to fight with the father of your son. The fact that he sent your son in a regular pre-school does not mean he is reneging from his obligations or that your son will not be able to acquire quality education. Aside from that, you should consider his source of income. Perhaps that is the most that he can provide for your son, all things considered.

    Furthermore, we do not advise you to file a complaint against him for violation of the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”. It bears stressing that this law punishes a man who commits violence against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate. However, the violence committed must be tantamount to physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, or economic abuse as defined under the said law. In your situation, we do not see such kind of economic abuse, that is, denial of financial support, as would render the father of your son criminally responsible (Section 5 (i), R.A. No. 9262).

    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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