Mandatory child support

The action for support shall be filed with the Family Court that has jurisdiction over the place where the child or the one to give support is residing

The law provides that parents support their children, whether legitimate or illegitimate. It is mandatory and is not subject to waiver or compensation.

Article 194 of the Family Code provides that support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education, and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. The amount of support that parents shall give to their children shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and the necessities of the recipient. Moreover, it shall be increased or reduced proportionately, according to the increase or reduction of necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to give support.

Payment of support starts from the time when demand was made judicially or extra-judicially. In Jocson v. Empire Co. (G.R. L-10792, 1958), the Supreme Court ruled that payment of the amount for support does not arise from the mere fact of relationship, but from imperative necessity without which it cannot be demanded. The law presumes that such a necessity does not exist unless support is demanded.

The Supreme Court has recently approved the Rules on Action for Support and Petition for Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Decisions or Judgments on Support (A.M. 21-03-02-SC), which became effective on 31 May 2021. The said Rule provides for an expedited procedure in actions for support. The action for support shall be filed with the Family Court that has jurisdiction over the place where the child or the one to give support is residing. In case the whereabouts of the person obliged to give support are unknown or if he/she does not reside in the Philippines, the action shall be filed in the court where the plaintiff resides, or where any property of the defendant is located in the Philippines.

It must be emphasized that failure or refusal to give support to the child is a form of economic abuse or psychological violence, as the case may be, under Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act. Failure to give child support can be considered a form of economic abuse if it is done with the purpose of controlling or restricting the woman’s or her child’s movement or conduct. It becomes a form of psychological violence when it causes or mental anguish, public ridicule, or humiliation to the woman or her child. Violation of RA 9262 is punishable by imprisonment.

In addition to imprisonment, the perpetrator shall: (a) pay a fine in the amount of not less than one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) but not more than three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000); (b) undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and shall report compliance to the court.

The law ensures that children be given support for their growth, development, and improvement. Deliberate failure or refusal to do so by the one obliged to give support may be a ground for criminal liability.

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