I have a four-year-old son with my former live-in partner. He filed a case against me to gain full custody of the boy. As he was not able to justify that I am incapable of taking care of our son, the court gave me full custody of the boy and merely granted my former live-in partner visitation rights. During one of his visits, I told him if it is possible for him to give financial support to our son. He, however, declined, saying our son does not know how to use money, and decided instead to just give toys and snacks, which, according to him, the boy will appreciate more. I want to know what I need to know and do to demand child support from my former live-in partner. Thank you very much.
Dear Ms. AJ,
Article 195(4) of the Family Code provides that parents and their illegitimate children are obliged to support each other. You mentioned that your former live-in partner previously filed a petition to gain full custody of your son; thus, we assume that he has recognized your son as his child. Since your son is a recognized illegitimate child of your former live-in partner, he is entitled to receive support from his father as provided in Article 195(4) of the Family Code.
In demanding support, you need to be apprised that the law is silent as to the exact amount of support that should be given. The definition of support as provided in Article 194 of the law, however, provides guidance as to what should be considered in computing the amount to be given. It provides that “[s]upport comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.” Thus, the amount needed for the sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation of your child should be considered in computing the amount of support that should be given to him by his father.
You also need to know that support is not a fixed amount, it may 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.” (Article 202, Id.)
The obligation to support your child is shared between you and the father of the child. (Article 200, Id.) Your respective contributions should be in proportion to your resources or means. (Article 201, Id.) Thus, you cannot automatically demand fifty percent (50 percent) of your son’s expenses from his father as your respective contributions would depend upon your financial capacity.
To claim the support, we recommend that you first formally demand the same from your former live-in partner by sending a demand letter stating therein the amount needed by your son for his sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation.
You also have the option of asking for assistance from authorities of the barangay (village) where you and your child reside for a possible mediation between you and your former live-in partner on the monthly support that he should give to your common child.
If your former live-in partner unjustly refuses to heed your demand to give support, then you can file a petition before the court to claim support for your minor son. In the petition for support, you only need to prove: (i) the filiation of your son to his father; (ii) the amount that your son needs for his sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation; and (iii) your former live-in partner’s resources or means to provide for your son.
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 email@example.com