I am a registered nurse working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My husband and I lived together here for two years, while our daughter lived with my parents in the Philippines. My husband decided to go home to start a business. We agreed that I will be the one to provide support for our daughter since he is just starting with his business and his income may not be enough. For one year I was the only one providing support for our daughter and I was also sending money to him. Recently, I learned that he is living with another woman. Can I still demand support from him? Can I also demand that he pay me back every single centavo I sent him for that one year that I have been supporting him? Lastly, can I file an action for support in the embassy here in Riyadh, KSA?
Husbands and wives are obliged to support one another. This is not merely a natural obligation, but one imposed by our very laws. The moment they enter into a contract of marriage, they already bind themselves not only to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, but also to render mutual help and support (Article 68, Family Code of the Philippines).
Parents are also obliged to raise their children. They are obliged to provide support which comprises everything that is indispensable for their sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of their family (Article 195 in relation to Article 194, Family Code of the Philippines).
Accordingly, both you and your husband are responsible for providing the needs of your daughter. In general, the obligation to provide financial support should be divided equally between the two of you. However, you and your husband’s financial capacity may be taken into consideration because pursuant to Article 200 of the Family Code of the Philippines: “When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each. x x x” In addition, Article 201 of the said law, states that the amount of support shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.
Correspondingly, if it is esta–blished by your husband that he did not have the financial capacity to give support to your daughter during that one-year period or at present, then there is no basis to demand the same. On the other hand, if you can show that he had the sufficient finances to share in the obligation, you may demand the same from him. However, if you need to bring formal legal action against him, you may not file the action for support in the Embassy in Riyadh, KSA. Such action may only be filed before the regional trial court, sitting as a Family Court, which has jurisdiction over your place of residence here in the Philippines, or the place of residence of your husband.
Regarding the financial support you have given him, we believe that you may not demand the return of the same. We reiterate that, as spouses, both of you are obliged to provide support for each other, in proportion to your respective financial resources.
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