I. Support

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Lawyer, Author, Mentor

1. WHAT IT COMPRISES

Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. (Article 194, Family Code)

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. (Paragraph 2, Article 194, Ibid.)

2. WHO ARE OBLIGED TO GIVE SUPPORT

a. Coverage

Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

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 brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood. (Article 195, Ibid.)

b. Brother and sisters not legitimately related

Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, 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. (Article 196, Ibid.)

3. SOURCE OF SUPPORT

a. Only exclusive or separate property

In case of legitimate ascendants, descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership. (Article 197, Ibid.)

4. ORDER OF SUPPORT

a. Hierarchy

Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

1) The spouse;

2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

4) The brothers and sisters. (Article 199, Ibid.)

b. When two or more to give support

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. (Article 200, Ibid.)

However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them. (Paragraph 2, Article 200, Ibid.)

c. When two or more to receive support

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred. (Paragraph 3, Article 200, Ibid.)

5. AMOUNT OF SUPPORT

a. Criteria

1) In proportion to resources/means of giver

2) Necessities of recipient

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. (Article 201, Ibid.)

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. (Article 202, Ibid.)

6. MANNER AND TIME OF PAYMENT

a. When demandable

1) Right to receive it for maintenance

2) Paid only after judicial or extra-judicial demand

The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand. (Article 203, Ibid.)

3) W/n 5 days every month

Payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance. (Paragraph 3, Article 203, Ibid.)

b. Options on the Giver

1) Pay allowance fixed; or

2) Receive person with right of support and maintain him/her in family dwelling – with exception

The person obliged to give support shall have the option to fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed, or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto. (Article 204, Ibid.)

c. Levy

1) Exempt from attachment or execution

The right to receive support, as any money or property obtained as such support, shall not be levied upon on attachment or execution. (Article 205, Ibid.)

2) Exception to exception: contractual support, testamentary, excess may be levied

In case of contractual support or that given by will, the excess in amount beyond that required for legal support shall be subject to levy on attachment or execution. (Article 208, Ibid.)

Furthermore, contractual support shall be subject to adjustment whenever modification is necessary due to changes of circumstances manifestly beyond the contemplation of the parties. (Paragraph 2, Article 208, Ibid.)

d. Given by stranger, with right to reimbursement

When, without the knowledge of the person obliged to give support, it is given by a stranger, the latter shall have a right to claim the same from the former, unless it appears that he gave it without intention of being reimbursed. (Article 206, Ibid.)

e. Third-party giving urgent support, with right to reimbursement

When the person obliged to support another unjustly refuses or fails to give support when urgently needed by the latter, any third person may furnish support to the needy individual, with right of reimbursement from the person obliged to give support. This Article shall particularly apply when the father or mother of a child under the age of majority unjustly refuses to support or fails to give support to the child when urgently needed. (Article 207, Ibid.)

7. RENUNCIATION AND TERMINATION

a. Renunciation

Prohibited. The right to receive support cannot be renounced, nor can it be transmitted to a third person. Neither can it be compensated with what the recipient owes the obligor. (Article 301, Civil Code)

The right to receive support can neither be renounced nor transmitted to a third person. (De Asis v. CA, G.R. No. 127578, 15 February 1999)

The right to support being founded upon the need of the recipient to maintain his existence, he is not entitled to renounce or transfer the right for this would mean sanctioning the voluntary giving up of life itself. The right to life cannot be renounce; hence, support which is the means to attain the former, cannot be renounced… To allow renunciation or transmission or compensation of the family right of a person to support is virtually to allow either suicide or the conversion of the recipient to a public burden. This is contrary to public policy. (Ibid.)

b. Cannot be compromised

Future support cannot be compromised. (Article 2035, Civil Code)

8. SUPPORT PENDENTE LITE

During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order. (Article 198, Ibid.)

Support pendente lite may be claimed in accordance with the Rules of Court. (Paragraph 2, Article 203, Ibid.)

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