Letitia, 45, and Joseph, 40, are the only children of Francisco and Antonia who died three months earlier. The estate consisted of a 1,200 square-meter lot where the family home stood, the same house where Letitia had been living with her parents before their death. Because of Letitia’s condition–she has total paralysis of the lower limbs–it was always understood that the property would go to her. There was no will; Joseph never demanded for his rightful share.
Joseph, who had moved out of the family home when he got married ten years earlier, works as a bank manager. He has three children aged eight, five and two. His wife, who comes from a wealthy family, owns a profitable garments export business.
Letitia files a petition for support against Joseph and cites Art. 105 of the Family Code of the Philippines which provides that legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood, are obliged to support each other. Joseph claims that he is not obiged to support his sister. Moreover, he is a married man with minor children who are all attending school.
Who is correct?
True that Art. 105 of the Family Code obliges brothers and sisters to support each other. However, since Joseph is married, the situation gets a bit tricky.
The first question is what property relations govern Joseph’s marriage. In the absence of a valid marriage settlement providing for a regime of complete separation of property, a regime of absolute community of property takes effect by default. Meaning, all properties of both spouses form part of the absolute community. The list of what the community is liable for does not include the support of siblings of either the husband or the wife.
Personally, I’d counter by claiming half of the parents’ estate. Joseph owns a one-half undivided share in that 1,200 square meter lot. Or, I’d point out that with the size of the lot, Letitia should get off her lazy ass, take in boarders or lease part of the property so she would have her own income instead of being such a leech.
Of course, that’s just me.