Philippine law has defined support as everything indispensible in keeping with the financial capacity of a family. It may consist of food or sustenance, dwelling or shelter, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation. Under Philippine law, support plays a very important role in ensuring the survival of the family unit. As such, the law has taken great pains in protecting it by making it exempt from levy or execution. The law also prohibits the renunciation of support in favor of a third person. Neither is support a valid subject of compromise nor can it be set up for compensation against an existing creditor.
The obligation to provide support derives itself from article 68 of the Family Code elucidating the various rights and obligations of the spouses during the existence of their marriage. Under the said provision, both spouses are required to render mutual help and support to each other. As a rule, the spouses are jointly responsible for the support of the family. Article 70 of the Family Code further prescribes the order from which support shall be paid. According to the provision, the expenses for support shall be paid first from the community property and in the absence thereof, from the income or fruits of the separate properties. In case of insufficiency or absence of said income or fruits, support shall be taken from their separate properties.
The obligation to provide for support may be satisfied either by paying the allowance fixed, or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support unless there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto. The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the recipient needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.
Pending litigation, support may be claimed in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court on Support pendente lite. Rule 61 of the Rules of Court provides for the proper application and procedure for such a petition. Under the said rule, the court hearing the case may, upon proper petition and hearing grant and provisionally fix the amount of money to be paid or to provide for the other forms of support taking into consideration the resources of the adverse party.
Furthermore, as provided for under the Rule on Provisional Orders covering actions for annulments, declaration of nullity of marriages and actions for legal separation, the court issuing the order for provisional support may be guided by the following factors: