Grandparents’ legal obligation to support their grandchildren

Cheryl married Edward Lim sometime 1979 and they have three children. Cheryl, Edward and their children lived at the house of Edward’s parents, Prudencio and Filomena, in Forbes Park, Makati City, together with Edward’s ailing grandmother, Chua Giak and her husband Mariano. Edward was employed with the family business, which provided him with a monthly salary of P6,000 and shouldered the family expenses. Cheryl had no steady source of income.

Cheryl caught Edward in “a very compromising situation” with the midwife of Chua Giak. After a violent confrontation with Edward, Cheryl left the Forbes Park residence on October 14, 1990. She subsequently sued, for herself and her children, Edward, Edward’s parents, and Edward’s grandparents for support.

In a judgment rendered on January 31, 1996, the regional trial court ordered Edward and his parents to “jointly” provide P40,000 monthly support to Cheryl and her children, with Edward shouldering P6,000 and Edward’s parents the balance of P34,000 subject to Chua Giak’s subsidiary liability.

Edward’s parents appealed to the Court of Appeals. They argued that while Edward’s income is insufficient, the law itself sanctions its effects by providing that legal support should be “in keeping with the financial capacity of the family” under Article 194 of the Civil Code, as amended by Executive Order No. 209 (The Family Code of the Philippines).

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