Dear Atty. Duran-Schulze,
My American husband hits my children a lot of time and I decided to file a Child Abuse Case against him. I also filed for a VAWC case because he hurts and hits me as well. His sister asks that I just drop the case and promises to support my child, but it’s been almost 3 yrs and he doesn’t give me money. He stays in my rented house with me and my child. What should I do?
Parents have the legal duty to support their children, whether legitimate or illegitimate. As to the amount, it is proportional to the resources or means of the giver and the necessities of the recipient. The father and the mother may agree on the amount and manner of payment of child support.
In the absence of such agreement, the court will decide the matter based on the applicable provisions of the Family Code. It is important to note that the decision of the court is never final, considering that support is based on the child’s needs, which may change, and the parent’s capacity to pay, which may also change.
Republic Act No. RA 9262 , otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Law (“VAWC”), defines violence against women and children as “any act or a series of acts against a woman who is his wife, former wife or against a woman with whom the person has or had sexual or dating relationship, or against her child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without family abode, which result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty”.
Articles 195 and Articles 196 of the Family Code enumerates the persons who are under obligation to support each other: the spouses; legitimate ascendants and descendants; parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood; and brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full of 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.
You may also file a Petition for Protection Order, under VAWC. A protection order is an order issued for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child specified and granting other necessary relief. The protection orders that may be issued are the barangay protection order (BPO), temporary protection order (TPO) and permanent protection order (PPO).
The protection orders that may be issued shall include the removal and exclusion of the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the petitioner, or permanently where no property rights are violated, and if respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent has gathered his things and escort respondent from the residence and/or directing the respondent to stay away from petitioner and designated family or household member at a distance specified by the court, and to stay away from the residence, school, place of employment, or any specified place frequented by the petitioner and any designated family or household member. The petition shall also direct the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support.
Your husband, as an American citizen, allows you to be able to file for a Violence against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition. VAWA self-petitioning is for close family members of US citizens or lawful permanent residents, so you must prove your relationship to the abuser. As provided under VAWA, the location of the abuser is not material to the filing of the case. Hence, whether the abuser is living with you or not, you can apply for a VAWA self-petition while in another country (i.e., Philippines).