(Question X, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Sinclair and Steffi had an illicit relationship while Sinclair was married to another. The relationship produced a daughter Sabina, who grew up with her mother. For most parts of Sabina’s youth, Steffi spent for her support and education. When Sabina was 21 years old, Sinclair’s wife of many years died. Sinclair and Steffi lost no time in legitimizing their relationship. After the 40-day prayers for Sinclair’s late wife, Sinclair and Steffi got married without a marriage license, claiming that they have been cohabiting for the last 20 years.
After graduating from college, Sabina decided to enroll in law school. Sinclair said that he was not willing to pay for her school fees since she was no longer a minor. Sinclair claimed that, if Sabina wanted to be a lawyer, she had to work and spend for her law education.
(a) What is Sabina’s filiation status? (2.5%)
(b) Is Sinclair legally required to finance Sabina’s law education? (2.5%)
(a) Sabina is an illegitimate child. Answer
Under the Civil Code, children conceived and born outside a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless otherwise provided by law. Further, only children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated. Rule
In the case at bar, Sabine was conceived and born outside a valid marriage as her parents Sinclair and Steffi were not married. Further, she cannot be legitimated as she was conceived and born when her father, Sinclair, was disqualified considering he was married to his previous wife at that time. Apply
Thus, Sabina remains an illegitimate child. Conclusion
(b) Yes, provided it is in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. Answer
Under the Family Code, support includes education in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. The education of the person entitled to be supported shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Rule
In the case at bar, there is no indication that sending Sabina to law school is in keeping with the financial capacity of their family. If it is within their financial capacity, then Sinclair is legally required to finance Sabina’s law education. If not in their financial capacity, then Sinclair has no legal obligation. Apply
Thus, Sinclair is legally required to finance Sabina’s law education only if it is in keeping with the financial capacity of their family. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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