I have a half brother. My mother and his father are not married. His father used to give support, but it slowly diminished after he retired. Now, my mother is having a difficult time asking him to provide even just for my brother’s schooling. She would not be asking him if she herself has the means to support my brother, but she also lost her job and I am now supporting all of us. The thing is, I am just a minimum wage earner. I just want to know if there is a legal procedure for my brother to obtain support from his father. Does the obligation of his father cease because I am here supporting him? Please advise.
There is no question that parents are obliged to provide support for their children, whether they are legitimate or illegitimate (Article 195, Family Code of the Philippines). Such support extends to all kinds of necessities of the child for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation (Article 194, Id.).
But our law does not confine such responsibility only to parents alone. Brothers and sisters are also obliged to support each other, though the responsibility of parents to provide support to their children has primacy over that between brothers and sisters (Article 199, Id.). Even brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether full or half blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent of those set forth under Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister who is of age is due to a cause imputable to the claimant’s fault or negligence (Article 196, Id.).
Applying the foregoing in the situation that you have presented before us, we can say that the father of your half brother remains responsible for the support of the latter. The fact that you are presently providing support for your half brother does not put an end to his obligation.
However, it is essential for your half brother to establish their illegitimate filiation either by his record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, an admission of filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by his father, open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, or by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Article 172 in relation to Article 175, Id.). In addition thereto, he also needs to establish not only his needs, in consonance with Article 194 of the Family Code, but also the capacity of his father to provide for his needs given that his father is already a retiree. It is explicitly stated under Article 201, Id., 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.”
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.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com