I have a two-year-old daughter from my former boyfriend who works as a seaman for an international shipping line. We are no longer together and I only contact him for the support of our daughter whom he has acknowledged since her birth. But, lately, it has been very difficult to ask support from him. He said he has no money since he disembarked last month and his next contract will start by February. Is that even a valid excuse? I have a feeling that he is just trying to avoid giving support to his daughter. Please advise me on what I should do. Thank you and best regards.
We cannot emphasize enough the obligation of parents to provide support to their children. Such responsibility is explicitly stated under our law. The Family Code of the Philippines provides:
Art. 174. Legitimate children shall have the right: x x x (2) To receive support from their parents, x x x
Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall x x x be entitled to support in conformity with this code. (as amended by Republic Act 9255)
Art. 195. 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: x x x (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; x x x
The obligation to provide support, however, is not all-encompassing. Our laws, in a way, provide certain limitations. To be particular, although support comprises everything that is indispensable for, as in this case, the child’s sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, the amount thereof should be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the needs of the recipient. Furthermore, such amount shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase in the needs of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same. (Article 194 in relation to Articles 201 and 202, Id.)
Accordingly, the father of your minor child may be well within reason when he contended that he could not provide financial support to your two-year-old daughter as he is not working or out-of-contract at present. But if you can establish that he is merely trying to avoid providing financial support to your daughter and that he has means or sources of income other than his employment as a seafarer, then he should still provide the necessary support to your daughter.
At this point, you may consider reopening again your concerns with your former boyfriend as to your daughter’s needs. Perhaps it would be helpful for you to give him the details thereof so that he may better understand your daughter’s situation. If he still refuses to give adequate support despite having the means to provide it, then you may consider filing an action in court.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org