My wife and I have been separated for almost 10 years now. She filed a petition for support against me on the first year of our separation, and the family court decided in her favor ordering me to support her and my two teen-age sons in the amount of P15,0000 a month. I have been compliant with my obligation until I was laid off by my employer last year. I communicated with my wife about my intention to reduce the monthly support, because I do not have any stable job at present and my sons have already graduated from college and now working as managers in private companies. My wife disagreed and claimed that I cannot reduce the amount of P15,000 because this amount emanates from a court order. She said that any reduction would be in violation of the court decision which had become final. What shall I do, I do not have the capacity to give the support?
Article 201 of the Family Code of the Philippines, states 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 relation thereto, Article 202 of the same code also provides that “support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same.”
In your case, the amount of P15,000 as monthly support and by virtue of the previous decision of the court, is not final. It means that it can be reduced or increased depending upon the circumstances of the person demanding support and the person obliged to give support.
In the case of Advincula vs. Advincula(G.R. No. L-19065, 31, 1964), the Honorable former Associate Supreme Court Justice Jose Ma. Paredes said that:
Judgment for support does not become final. The right to support is of such nature that its allowance is essentially provisional; for during the entire period that needy party is entitled to support, his or her alimony may be modified or altered, in accordance with his increase or decreased needs, and with the means of the giver. It cannot be regarded as subject to final determination.
Hence, your remedy if your wife refused the reduction of support is to file a petition in appropriate court for its reduction.
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.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org