• Grandparents obliged to support grandchildren if parents are unable

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My brother has illegitimate children from a former relationship. He has been providing for financial support for his illegitimate children until he lost his job. Now the mother of his children is requiring our parents to give financial support instead of my brother. Can she legally do this? Can my brother demand visitation rights?
    Joy

    Dear Joy,
    The law imposes upon certain individuals the obligation to mutually provide for financial support. Article 105 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides:

    “Art. 105. 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:

    (1) The spouses;

    (2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

    (3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

    (4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

    (5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood”. (291a)

    As a rule, grandchildren cannot directly ask for financial support straight from their grandparents if their parents are capable of supporting them. However, the obligation to give support shall pass to the grandparents or the ascendants not only in case when the parents are totally unable to provide for support but also if the latter is unable to provide for sufficient financial support. The parents’ inability to sufficiently provide for the needs of the children shifts a portion of their obligation to the ascendants in the nearest degree, both in the paternal and the maternal lines (Spouses Lim vs. Lim, G.R. No. 163209, October 30, 2009). Hence, your parents may be validly compelled to provide for financial support to their grandchildren in case of default or inability of their grandchildren’s parents.

    Secondly, your brother has visitorial rights over his illegitimate children since he is the latter’s biological father. Unlike legitimate children where both the father and the mother exercise parental authority over their minor children, parental authority over illegitimate children is granted only to the mother (Section 1, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9255). Nevertheless, the father shall have visitorial right over his children in view of the constitutionally protected inherent and natural right of parents over their children. Despite the loss of affection between separated parents, their affection and concern over their children remain unchanged. Because of this, both the law and the court uphold the right of the non-custodial parent to visit his children in the absence of any real, grave or imminent threat to the well-being of the latter (Briones vs. Miguel, G.R. No. 156343, October 18, 2004).

    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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