Paternal obligation of parent ceases upon his death

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I am the second wife of my husband, who has two children in the first marriage. Unfortunately, my husband also died. His children who are still studying in college are living with their maternal relatives. My husband and I were able to put up a bakery, which is the only source of my income. My stepchildren are asking for support from me for an amount more than the income of our business. Am I obliged to support my stepchildren?
Thea

Dear Thea,
Expenses relating to education is one of those included in legal support referred to under Article 194 of the Family Code which provides that “support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family; the education of the person entitled to be supported xxx shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority xxx”. The persons who are entitled to support mentioned in Article 194 of the Family Code are as follows” (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 brother and sister, whether of full or half-blood (Article 195, Family Code).

Your husband has the obligation under the mentioned provisions of the Family Code to support his children in their college education. The obligation to give support is personal. Hence, the obligation of your husband was terminated upon his death and the same cannot be transferred to you. The said obligation for support cannot likewise be demanded from you because step-parents have no obligation to give support to their step-children. Nevertheless, your step-children have the right to demand from you their share in the fruits of the business which you and your husband have put up. They have the right to share in the income of the business because they are compulsory heirs of your husband (Article 887, Civil Code), making your step-children co-owners of the said business (Article 1078, Civil Code). Based from the foregoing, the amount which you are giving to your step-children does not represent your support to them but their share as co-owners of the business. Hence, the same shall be limited to their share in the income of the business.

Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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