Through all the family cases that we’ve handled, we’ve come to accept, without discounting the contrary, the sad fact that bad blood exists between the opposing parties (e.g., estranged spouses in annulment/separation/property cases, siblings and relatives in estate proceedings). In particular, with respect to custody-support cases over children, it’s easily understandable that custody is one of the more contested issues. However, the issue on child support should not be as complicated.
Well, it shouldn’t be as complicated, but reality makes it so.
Articles 195 and 196 of the Family Code enumerate the persons who are under obligation to support each other, thus: (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; (5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood; and (6) Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cause imputable to the claimant’s fault or negligence.
On the other hand, the amount of support should be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and the necessities of the recipient, pursuant to Articles 194, 201 and 202 of the Family Code:
Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.
The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.
Art. 201. 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.
Art. 202. Support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall 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.
If you’re a parent, it is safe to assume that you would want the best for your child and you wouldn’t hesitate to provide adequate support. However, it’s unfortunate that when it comes to support for the common children (whether legitimate or illegitimate), so many fathers still fail (or worse, simply refuse) to provide adequate support. Whatever the reason is, and regardless of whether or not these reasons are correct, the problem became pervasive, so much so that Congress saw it fit to “criminalize” (only against fathers) the withholding of support in certain instances. Not everyone knows that this is covered under Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004”.
Not everyone also knows that R.A. 9262 provides for criminal sactions or penalties for failure to provide support or withholding custody, in certain cases. Well, now you know.