Can I oblige the grandparents of my son to give support, if his father cannot provide sufficient support to him? My husband and I are married but living separately. Although he provides for our son, the financial support is not enough to meet the boy’s daily needs. My in-laws are very much capable of complementing the insufficient support that my husband is giving our son.
The Family Code of the Philippines defines support as follows: “Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.
According to this law, parents and children, whether legitimate or not, as well as legitimate ascendants and descendants are obliged to give support to each other. Thus, it cannot be gainsaid that grandparents, if capable, may be compelled to give support to their grandchildren. As can be inferred from your letter, however, you want to know whether grandparents may be obliged to give support to their grandchildren whenever the support being given by their parents is inadequate. The answer to that question was explicitly explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Spouses Prudencio and Filomena Lim vs. Ma. Cheryl S. Lim (G.R. No. 163209, October 30, 2009), to wit:
“By statutory and jurisprudential mandate, the liability of ascendants to provide legal support to their descendants is beyond cavil. Petitioners themselves admit as much – they limit their petition to the narrow question of when their liability is triggered, not if they are liable. Relying on provisions found in Title IX of the Civil Code, as amended, on Parental Authority, petitioners theorize that their liability is activated only upon default of parental authority, conceivably either by its termination or suspension during the children’s minority. Because at the time respondents sued for support, Cheryl and Edward exercised parental authority over their children, petitioners submit that the obligation to support the latter’s offspring ends with them.
Neither the text of the law nor the teaching of jurisprudence supports this severe constriction of the scope of familial obligation to give support. In the first place, the governing text are the relevant provisions in Title VIII of the Civil Code, as amended, on Support, not the provisions in Title IX on Parental Authority. While both areas share a common ground in that parental authority encompasses the obligation to provide legal support, they differ in other concerns including the duration of the obligation and its concurrence among relatives of differing degrees. Thus, although the obligation to provide support arising from parental authority ends upon the emancipation of the child, the same obligation arising from spousal and general familial ties ideally lasts during the obligee’s lifetime. Also, while parental authority under Title IX (and the correlative parental rights) pertains to parents, passing to ascendants only upon its termination or suspension, the obligation to provide legal support passes on to ascendants not only upon default of the parents but also for the latter’s inability to provide sufficient support.”
Based on the foregoing, your son’s grandparents may be compelled to augment the insufficient support being extended to him by his father.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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