­

Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Guidelines On Filing For Child Support

Handling family cases is the hardest let alone settling conflicts between the opposing parties, especially on the issues of child support. Estranged spouses are not the only ones involved in the battle for support and custody but siblings and relatives as well. 

When it comes to child support, Articles 195 and 196 of the Family Code enumerate the people who are under obligation to support each other:

The following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood (291a)

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, 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. 

Guidelines on filing for child support:

1. If women who are going to file and ask for support does not have the ability to pay for court fees, seeking help from the Public Attorney's Office is going to be your best bet. They can also go to Department of Justice and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. 

2. A Protection Order is issued to protect the woman and her children from violence and economic abuse. In this case, custody will be given automatically to the woman with an entitlement of support.

3. The cases shall be filed in the Regional Trial Courts. They will also serve as Family Courts for hearing cases. 

4. The support is applicable to both legitimate and illegitimate children. It includes clothing, education, transportation and food. The support will be in accordance with the capacity and resources of the father. 

5. The woman parent will be the one to file the support of the child. If the child is below 7 years old, the custody will be given automatically to the mother. 

6. Regardless of the marriage status, the father's support should be considered as compulsory. Support will be in monetary form if the children are in the mother's custody and children will be under the father's custody for survival. 

It is also important to note that support and child custody will depend on a case by case basis. For minor children, they are definitely entitled to parental support. 

The Benefits That Solo Parents Can Get According To RA 8972

Solo parents carry a heavy responsibility as they are left alone to take care of their children. In 2015, the National Statistics Office (NSO) stated that there are about 14 million solo parents in the Philippines. This is why the national government took the initiative to pass Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000. While rearing children as a solo parent is difficult, the law has somehow made it easier or less burdensome. What are the benefits that solo parent can get from the government?

Sec. 5. Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services. - A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The DSWD shall coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. The package will initially include:

(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.

(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.

(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.

(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.

(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.

Sec. 6. Flexible Work Schedule. - The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: Provided, That the same shall not affect individual and company productivity: Provided, further, That any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.

Sec. 7. Work Discrimination. - No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Sec. 8. Parental Leave. - In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leave of not more than seven (7) working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year.

Sec. 9. Educational Benefits. - The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall provide the following benefits and privileges:

(1) Scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education; and

(2) Nonformal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.

The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall promulgate rules and regulations for the proper implementation of this program.

Sec. 10. Housing Benefits. - Solo parents shall be given allocation in housing projects and shall be provided with liberal terms of payment on said government low-cost housing projects in accordance with housing law provisions prioritizing applicants below the poverty line as declared by the NEDA.

Sec. 11. Medical Assistance. - The DOH shall develop a comprehensive health care program for solo parents and their children. The program shall be implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local government units (LGUs) through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs).

Can Grandparents Be Obliged To Provide Financial Support? 

Children feel caught in the middle between parents' decision. Child support is the most common issue being raised. Although it is common knowledge that a husband or father is compelled to provide financial support to his children, the role of grandparents when it comes to augmenting support has not been openly discussed. 

However, there are laws that shed light on this matter. Article 194 of the Family Code states that, "Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family."

This means that parents are not the only ones compelled to give support but the legitimate ascendants and descendants as well. If grandparents have means to augment support, given the fact that the father has no ability to provide sufficient support, the obligation will be passed on to them. 

SUPPORT

Art. 105. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood (291a)

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, 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. (291a)

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership. (n)

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order. (292a)

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters. (294a)

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each.

However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

 

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred. (295a)

Qualified Persons Who Can Exercise Parental Authority Over An Abandoned Child

It is the duty of every parent to their provide children's needs such as food, shelter and education. Children should also be protected against violence and harm, which can affect their development. Parents who are able to fulfill their obligations are praiseworthy. However, there are parents who choose to shirk their responsibility. In these cases, the children are the ones who suffer the consequences of parental neglect. If parents are not capable of rearing a child, can the court appoint another person to exercise parental authority?

Parental Authority

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Art. 209. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority and responsibility shall include the caring for and rearing them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well-being. (n)

Art. 210. Parental authority and responsibility may not be renounced or transferred except in the cases authorized by law. (313a)

Art. 211. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. In case of disagreement, the father's decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.

Children shall always observe respect and reverence towards their parents and are obliged to obey them as long as the children are under parental authority. (311a) 

Art. 212. In case of absence or death of either parent, the parent present shall continue exercising parental authority. The remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children, unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children. (n)

Art. 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit. (n)

No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.

Art. 214. In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. In case several survive, the one designated by the court, taking into account the same consideration mentioned in the preceding article, shall exercise the authority. (355a)

Art. 215. No descendant shall be compelled, in a criminal case, to testify against his parents and grandparents, except when such testimony is indispensable in a crime against the descendant or by one parent against the other. (315a)

Chapter 2. Substitute and Special Parental Authority

Art. 216. In default of parents or a judicially appointed guardian, the following person shall exercise substitute parental authority over the child in the order indicated:

(1) The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art. 214;

(2) The oldest brother or sister, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified; and 

(3) The child's actual custodian, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified.

Whenever the appointment of a judicial guardian over the property of the child becomes necessary, the same order of preference shall be observed. (349a, 351a, 354a)

Art. 217. In case of foundlings, abandoned, neglected or abused children and other children similarly situated, parental authority shall be entrusted in summary judicial proceedings to heads of children's homes, orphanages and similar institutions duly accredited by the proper government agency. (314a)

Art. 218. The school, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.

Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. (349a)

Art. 219. Those given the authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor. The parents, judicial guardians or the persons exercising substitute parental authority over said minor shall be subsidiarily liable.

The respective liabilities of those referred to in the preceding paragraph shall not apply if it is proved that they exercised the proper diligence required under the particular circumstances.

All other cases not covered by this and the preceding articles shall be governed by the provisions of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts.

Demand For Child Support From Father With No Source Of Income

Many would have already known that an illegitimate child is entitled to support. Does this law still apply to fathers who have no income? The father may have acknowledged his illegitimate child, but refused to provide support due to lack of income. According to the Family Code of the Philippines, the father of the illegitimate child is still responsible to provide support. The support will be be taken from the separate property. In the event the spouse does not have any separate property, the support will be taken from the conjugal partnership or absolute community. This is also referred to as the common property of the spouses. Now, if the wife is the breadwinner of the family, the income will be considered as an absolute community of gains. The only time the party will be liable to provide support is when the amount essential for the support of the family has been deducted. 

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership. (n)

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order. (292a)

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters. (294a)

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each.

However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred. (295a)

The Lack Of Father's Signature Does Not Affect Child's Entitlement To Support

The child's birth certificate is a proof of filiation, but the lack of signature is one of the reasons mothers are deterred from compelling the father to provide financial support. Can the child's entitlement to support be denied due to lack of dad's signature on the child's birth certificate? 

If the father fails to sign the child's birth certificate, you can still present proof showing your child's relationship to the father. There are many ways filiation or relationship between the child and the father can be established. 

Chapter 2. Proof of Filiation

Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:

(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or

(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be

proved by:

(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or

(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (265a, 266a, 267a)

Art. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in a state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action.

Art. 174. Legitimate children shall have the right:

(1) To bear the surnames of the father and the mother, in conformity with the provisions of the Civil Code on Surnames;

(2) To receive support from their parents, their ascendants, and in proper cases, their brothers and sisters, in conformity with the provisions of this Code on Support; and

(3) To be entitled to the legitimate and other successional rights granted to them by the Civil Code. (264a)

Chapter 3. Illegitimate Children

Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.

The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. (289a)

Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. Except for this modification, all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in force. (287a) 

Financial Support For Abandoned Women And Children

Abandoned women and children are living in limbo because aside from finding means to survive, the hopes of receiving support from the child's father are nebulous. Support includes dwelling, sustenance, education, transportation and even medical assistance. Fortunately,  Republic Act No. 9262 gives you the right to compel your spouse or live-in partner to provide financial support. This can be executed by filing a petition for Protection Order. The petition must be filed with the Family Court of the place of residence. 

The court will determine the amount of support in accordance to your needs and the husband's resources. The Protection Order will also give the employer of your husband the authority to remit the support directly. The judge will cite your live in partner or husbandor employer for contempt of court in the event either party disregards the Protection Order. 

SECTION 8. Protection Orders.- A protection order is an order issued under this act for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child specified in Sec. 5 of this Act and granting other necessary relief. The relief granted under a protection order serve the purpose of safeguarding the victim from further harm, minimizing any disruption in the victim's daily life, and facilitating the opportunity and ability of the victim to independently regain control over her life. The provisions of the protection order shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies. The protection orders that may be issued under this Act are the barangay protection order (BPO), temporary protection order (TPO) and permanent protection order (PPO). The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:

(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, any of the acts mentioned in Sec. 5 of this Act;

(b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly;

(c) 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;

(d) 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;

(e) Directing lawful possession and use by petitioner of an automobile and other essential personal effects, regardless of ownership, and directing the appropriate law enforcement officer to accompany the petitioner to the residence of the parties to ensure that the petitioner is safely restored to the possession of the automobile and other essential personal effects, or to supervise the petitioner's or respondent's removal of personal belongings;

(f) Granting a temporary or permanent custody of a child/children to the petitioner;

(g) Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent's employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;

(h) Prohibition of the respondent from any use or possession of any firearm or deadly weapon and order him to surrender the same to the court for appropriate disposition by the court, including revocation of license and disqualification to apply for any license to use or possess a firearm. If the offender is a law enforcement agent, the court shall order the offender to surrender his firearm and shall direct the appropriate authority to investigate on the offender and take appropriate action on matter;

(i) Restitution for actual damages caused by the violence inflicted, including, but not limited to, property damage, medical expenses, childcare expenses and loss of income;

(j) Directing the DSWD or any appropriate agency to provide petitioner may need; and

(k) Provision of such other forms of relief as the court deems necessary to protect and provide for the safety of the petitioner and any designated family or household member, provided petitioner and any designated family or household member consents to such relief.

Any of the reliefs provided under this Sec. shall be granted even in the absence of a decree of legal separation or annulment or declaration of absolute 'ity of marriage.

The issuance of a BPO or the pendency of an application for BPO shall not preclude a petitioner from applying for, or the court from granting a TPO or PPO.

SECTION 9. Who may file Petition for Protection Orders. – A petition for protection order may be filed by any of the following:

(a) The offended party;

(b) Parents or guardians of the offended party;

(c) Ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity;

(d) Officers or social workers of the DSWD or social workers of local government units (LGUs);

(e) Police officers, preferably those in charge of women and children's desks;

(f) Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad;

(g) Lawyer, counselor, therapist or healthcare provider of the petitioner;

(h) At least two (2) concerned responsible citizens of the city or municipality where the violence against women and their children occurred and who has personal knowledge of the offense committed.

SECTION 10. Where to Apply for a Protection Order. – Applications for BPOs shall follow the rules on venue under Sec. 409 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and its implementing rules and regulations. An application for a TPO or PPO may be filed in the regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, municipal circuit trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner: Provided, however, That if a family court exists in the place of residence of the petitioner, the application shall be filed with that court.

SECTION 11. How to Apply for a Protection Order. – The application for a protection order must be in writing, signed and verified under oath by the applicant. It may be filed as an independent action or as incidental relief in any civil or criminal case the subject matter or issues thereof partakes of a violence as described in this Act. A standard protection order application form, written in English with translation to the major local languages, shall be made available to facilitate applications for protections order, and shall contain, among other, the following information:

(a) names and addresses of petitioner and respondent;

(b) description of relationships between petitioner and respondent;

(c) a statement of the circumstances of the abuse;

(d) description of the reliefs requested by petitioner as specified in Sec. 8 herein;

(e) request for counsel and reasons for such;

(f) request for waiver of application fees until hearing; and

(g) an attestation that there is no pending application for a protection order in another court.

If the applicants is not the victim, the application must be accompanied by an affidavit of the applicant attesting to (a) the circumstances of the abuse suffered by the victim and (b) the circumstances of consent given by the victim for the filling of the application. When disclosure of the address of the victim will pose danger to her life, it shall be so stated in the application. In such a case, the applicant shall attest that the victim is residing in the municipality or city over which court has territorial jurisdiction, and shall provide a mailing address for purpose of service processing.

An application for protection order filed with a court shall be considered an application for both a TPO and PPO.

Barangay officials and court personnel shall assist applicants in the preparation of the application. Law enforcement agents shall also extend assistance in the application for protection orders in cases brought to their attention.

Adopting A Child According To Philippine Law

Adoption is an available option to those who want to provide love and care to abandoned or neglected children. After all, everyone deserves to live a normal and healthy life. However, no one is above the law. Even when you have pure intentions, adoption will not be considered legal unless it is in accordance with the Philippine law. The court will not honor any verbal agreement as legal procedures must be followed to prevent any issues with parental authority. The Republic Act No. 8552 or better known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 provides details of the adoption process. 

Section 7. Who May Adopt. – The following may adopt:

(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee's parent;

(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, Further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien's qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:

(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or

(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or

(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse; or

(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.

Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases: 

(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or

(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, However, that the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto; or

(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.

In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses.

Section 8. Who May Be Adopted. – The following may be adopted:

(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;

(b) The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;

(c) An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy;

(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter(s) as his/her own child since minority;

(e) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or

(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, That no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parent(s).

Section 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. – After being properly counseled and informed of his/her right to give or withhold his/her approval of the adoption, the written consent of the following to the adoption is hereby required:

(a) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;

(b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or the legal guardian, or the proper government instrumentality which has legal custody of the child;

(c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any;

(d) The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter if living with said adopter and the latter's spouse, if any; and

(e) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to be adopted.

ARTICLE IV 

PROCEDURE

Section 10. Hurried Decisions. – In all proceedings for adoption, the court shall require proof that the biological parent(s) has been properly counseled to prevent him/her from making hurried decisions caused by strain or anxiety to give up the child, and to sustain that all measures to strengthen the family have been exhausted and that any prolonged stay of the child in his/her own home will be inimical to his/her welfare and interest.

Section 11. Case Study. – No petition for adoption shall be set for hearing unless a licensed social worker of the Department, the social service office of the local government unit, or any child-placing or child-caring agency has made a case study of the adoptee, his/her biological parent(s), as well as the adopter(s), and has submitted the report and recommendations on the matter to the court hearing such petition.

At the time of preparation of the adoptee's case study, the concerned social worker shall confirm with the Civil Registry the real identity and registered name of the adoptee. If the birth of the adoptee was not registered with the Civil Registry, it shall be the responsibility of the concerned social worker to ensure that the adoptee is registered.

The case study on the adoptee shall establish that he/she is legally available for adoption and that the documents to support this fact are valid and authentic. Further, the case study of the adopter(s) shall ascertain his/her genuine intentions and that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.

The Department shall intervene on behalf of the adoptee if it finds, after the conduct of the case studies, that the petition should be denied. The case studies and other relevant documents and records pertaining to the adoptee and the adoption shall be preserved by the Department.

Section 12. Supervised Trial Custody. – No petition for adoption shall be finally granted until the adopter(s) has been given by the court a supervised trial custody period for at least six (6) months within which the parties are expected to adjust psychologically and emotionally to each other and establish a bonding relationship. During said period, temporary parental authority shall be vested in the adopter(s).

The court may motu proprio or upon motion of any party reduce the trial period if it finds the same to be in the best interest of the adoptee, stating the reasons for the reduction of the period. However, for alien adopter(s), he/she must complete the six (6)-month trial custody except for those enumerated in Sec. 7 (b) (i) (ii) (iii).

If the child is below seven (7) years of age and is placed with the prospective adopter(s) through a pre-adoption placement authority issued by the Department, the prospective adopter(s) shall enjoy all the benefits to which biological parent(s) is entitled from the date the adoptee is placed with the prospective adopter(s)

Section 13. Decree of Adoption. – If, after the publication of the order of hearing has been complied with, and no opposition has been interposed to the petition, and after consideration of the case studies, the qualifications of the adopter(s), trial custody report and the evidence submitted, the court is convinced that the petitioners are qualified to adopt, and that the adoption would redound to the best interest of the adoptee, a decree of adoption shall be entered which shall be effective as of the date the original petition was filed. This provision shall also apply in case the petitioner(s) dies before the issuance of the decree of adoption to protect the interest of the adoptee. The decree shall state the name by which the child is to be known.

Section 14. Civil Registry Record. – An amended certificate of birth shall be issued by the Civil Registry, as required by the Rules of Court, attesting to the fact that the adoptee is the child of the adopter(s) by being registered with his/her surname. The original certificate of birth shall be stamped "cancelled" with the annotation of the issuance of an amended birth certificate in its place and shall be sealed in the civil registry records. The new birth certificate to be issued to the adoptee shall not bear any notation that it is an amended issue.

Section 15. Confidential Nature of Proceedings and Records. – All hearings in adoption cases shall be confidential and shall not be open to the public. All records, books, and papers relating to the adoption cases in the files of the court, the Department, or any other agency or institution participating in the adoption proceedings shall be kept strictly confidential.

If the court finds that the disclosure of the information to a third person is necessary for purposes connected with or arising out of the adoption and will be for the best interest of the adoptee, the court may merit the necessary information to be released, restricting the purposes for which it may be used.

Changing A Minor's Surname According To The Law

No one can predict what the future will bring for couples. Even when you are compatible, there are still some circumstances that will tear you apart. Even when love bears children, they are the ones who suffer when things go wrong. It is not just a simple battle of custody and support. 

When pride and ego get in the way, there is more to separation than just coming to an agreement. Making sure that nothing and no one will remind you of your ex is part of the moving on process. This is why, some single moms prefer to have their children use their surname instead. 

Unfortunately, it is not an easy process. In fact, it takes more than a simple affidavit to grant such a request. Under Article 376 of the Civil Code, changing one's surname should have judicial authority.

Republic Act No. 9048 provides detailed information about the correct process of filing a petition. 

Section 3. Who May File the Petition and Where. – Any person having direct and personal interest in the correction of a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change of first name or nickname in the civil register may file, in person, a verified petition with the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where the record being sought to be corrected or changed is kept.

In case the petitioner has already migrated to another place in the country and it would not be practical for such party, in terms of transportation expenses, time and effort to appear in person before the local civil registrar keeping the documents to be corrected or changed, the petition may be filed, in person, with the local civil registrar of the place where the interested party is presently residing or domiciled. The two (2) local civil registrars concerned will then communicate to facilitate the processing of the petition.

Citizens of the Philippines who are presently residing or domiciled in foreign countries may file their petition, in person, with the nearest Philippine Consulates.

The petitions filed with the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be processed in accordance with this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

All petitions for the clerical or typographical errors and/or change of first names or nicknames may be availed of only once.

Section 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:

(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce.

(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that by that first name or nickname in the community: or

(3) The change will avoid confusion.

Grounds For Petition Of Guardianship

Custody is not only awarded to parents because in the event that the parent is deemed unfit, petition for guardianship can be filed. However, it is also important to note that grounds for petition for guardianship must also be taken into consideration. 

RULE 92

Venue

Section 1. Where to institute proceedings. — Guardianship of a person or estate of a minor or incompetent may be instituted in the Court of First Instance of the province, or in the justice of the peace court of the municipality, or in the municipal court chartered city where the minor or incompetent persons resides, and if he resides in a foreign country, in the Court of First Instance of the province wherein his property or the party thereof is situated; provided, however, that where the value of the property of such minor or incompetent exceeds that jurisdiction of the justice of the peace or municipal court, the proceedings shall be instituted in the Court of First Instance.

In the City of Manila the proceedings shall be instituted in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Section 2. Meaning of word "incompetent." — Under this rule, the word "incompetent" includes persons suffering the penalty of civil interdiction or who are hospitalized lepers, prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable to read and write, those who are of unsound mind, even though they have lucid intervals, and persons not being of unsound mind, but by reason of age, disease, weak mind, and other similar causes, cannot, without outside aid, take care of themselves and manage their property, becoming thereby an easy prey for deceit and exploitation.

Section 3. Transfer of venue. — The court taking cognizance of a guardianship proceeding, may transfer the same to the court of another province or municipality wherein the ward has acquired real property, if he has transferred thereto his bona-fide residence, and the latter court shall have full jurisdiction to continue the proceedings, without requiring payment of additional court fees.

RULE 93

Appointment of Guardians

Section 1. Who may petition for appointment of guardian for resident. — Any relative, friend, or other person on behalf of a resident minor or incompetent who has no parent or lawful guardian, or the minor himself if fourteen years of age or over, may petition the court having jurisdiction for the appointment of a general guardian for the person or estate, or both, of such minor or incompetent. An officer of the Federal Administration of the United States in the Philippines may also file a petition in favor of a ward thereof, and the Director of Health, in favor of an insane person who should be hospitalized, or in favor of an isolated leper.

Section 2. Contents of petition. — A petition for the appointment of a general guardian must show, so far as known to the petitioner:

(a) The jurisdiction facts;

(b) The minority or incompetency rendering the appointment necessary or convenient;

(c) The names, ages, and residence of the relatives of the minor or incompetent, and of the person having him in their care;

(d) The probable value and character of his estate;

(e) The name of the person for whom letters of guardianship.

The petition shall be verified; but no defect in the petition or verification shall render void the issuance of letters of guardianship.

Section 3. Court to set time for hearing. Notice thereof. — When a petition for the appointment of a general guardian is filed, the court shall fix a time and place for hearing the same, and shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons mentioned in the petition residing in the province, including the minor if above 14 years of age or the incompetent himself, and may direct other general or special notice thereof to be given.

Section 4. Opposition to petition. — Any interested person may, by filing a written opposition, contest the petition on the ground of majority of the alleged minor, competency of the alleged incompetent, or the insuitability of the person for whom letters are prayed, and may pray that the petition be dismissed, or that letters of guardianship issue to himself, or to any suitable person named in the opposition.

Section 5. Hearing and order for letters to issue. — At the hearing of the petition the alleged in competent must be present if able to attend, and it must be shown that the required notice has been given. Thereupon the courts shall hear the evidence of the parties in support of their respective allegations, and, if the person in question is a minor, or incompetent it shall be appoint a suitable guardian of his person or estate, or both, with the powers and duties hereinafter specified.

Section 6. When and how guardian for non-resident appointed. Notice. — When a person liable to be put under guardianship resides without the Philippines but the estate therein, any relative or friend of such person, or any one interested in his estate, in expectancy or otherwise, may petition a court having jurisdiction for the appointment of a guardian for the estate, and if, after notice given to such person and in such manner as the court deems proper, by publication or otherwise, and hearing, the court is satisfied that such non-resident is a minor or incompetent rendering a guardian necessary or convenient, it may appoint a guardian for such estate.

Section 7. Parents as guardians. — When the property of the child under parental authority is worth two thousand pesos or less, the father of the mother, without the necessity of court appointment, shall be his legal guardian. When the property of the child is worth more than two thousand pesos, the father or the mother shall be considered guardian of the child's property, with the duties and obligations of guardians under this rules, and shall file the petition required by section 2 hereof. For good reasons the court may, however, appoint another suitable person.

Section 8. Service of judgment. — Final orders or judgments under this rule shall be served upon the civil registrar of the municipality or city where the minor or incompetent person resides or where his property or part thereof is situated.

RULE 94

Bonds of Guardians

Section 1. Bond to be given before issuance of letters. Amount. Condition. — Before a guardian appointed enters upon the execution of his trust, or letters of guardianship issue, he shall give a bond, in such sum as the court directs, conditioned as follows:

(a) To make and return to the court, within three (3) months, a true and complete inventory of all the estate, real and personal, of his ward which shall come to his possession or knowledge of any other person for him;

(b) To faithfully execute the duties of his trust, to manage and dispose of the estate according to these rules for the best interests of the ward, and to provide for the proper care, custody, and education of the ward;

(c) To render a true and just account of all the estate of the ward in his hands, and of all proceeds or interest derived therefrom, and of the management and disposition of the same, at the time designated by these rules and such other times as the courts directs, and at the expiration of his trust to settle his accounts with the court and deliver and pay over all the estate, effects, and moneys remaining in his hands, or due from him on such settlement, to the person lawfully entitled thereto;

(d) To perform all orders of the court by him to be performed.

Section 2. When new bond may be required and old sureties discharged. — Whenever it is deemed necessary, the court may require a new bond to be given by the guardian, and may discharge the sureties on the old bond from further liability, after due notice to interested persons, when no injury can result therefrom to those interested in the estate.

Section 3. Bonds to be filed. Actions thereon. — Every bond given by a guardian shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court, and, in case of the breach of a condition thereof, may be prosecuted in the same proceeding or in a separate action for the use and benefit of the ward or of any other person legally interested in the estate.

RULE 95

Selling and Encumbering Property of Ward

Section 1. Petition of guardian for leave to sell or encumber estate. — When the income of the estate under guardianship is insufficient to maintain the ward and his family, or to maintain and educate the ward when a minor, or when it appears that it is for the benefit of the ward that his real estate or some part thereof be sold, or mortgaged or otherwise encumbered, and the proceeds thereof put out at interest, or invested in some productive security, or in the improvement or security or other real estate of the ward, the guardian may present a verified petition to the court by which he was appointed setting forth such facts, and praying that an order issue authorizing the sale or encumbrance.

Section 2. Order to show cause thereupon. — If it seems probable that such sale or encumbrance is necessary, or would be beneficial to the ward, the court shall make an order directing the next of kin of the ward, and all persons interested in the estate, to appear at a reasonable time and place therein specified to show cause why the prayer of the petition should not be granted.

Section 3. Hearing on return of order. Costs. — At the time and place designated in the order to show cause, the court shall hear the proofs and allegations of the petitioner and next of kin, and other persons interested, together with their witnesses, and grant and refuse the prayer of the petition as the best interest of the ward require. The court shall make such order as to cost of the hearing as may be just.

Section 4. Contents of order for sale or encumbrance, and how long effective. Bond. — If, after full examination, it appears that it is necessary, or would be beneficial to the ward, to sell or encumber the estate, or some portion of it, the court shall order such sale or encumbrance and that the proceeds thereof be expended for the maintenance of the ward and his family, or the education of the ward, if a minor, or for the putting of the same interest, or the investment of the same as the circumstances may require. The order shall specify the causes why the sale or encumbrance is necessary or beneficial, and may direct that estate ordered sold be disposed of at either public or private sale, subject to such conditions as to the time and manner of payment, and security where a part of the payment is deferred as in the discretion of the court are deemed most beneficial to the ward. The original bond of the guardian shall stand as security for the proper appropriation of the proceeds of the sale, but the judge may, if deemed expedient, require an additional bond as a condition for the granting of the order of sale. No order of sale granted in pursuance of this section shall continue in force more than one (1) year after granting the same, without a sale being had.

Section 5. Court may order investment of proceeds and direct management of estate. — The court may authorize and require the guardian to invest the proceeds of sales or encumbrances, and any other of his ward's money in his hands, in real estate or otherwise, as shall be for the best interest of all concerned, and may make such other orders for the management, investment, and disposition of the estate and effects, as circumstances may require.

The Endless Battle Of Child Custody

There are many aspects in family litigation that make any legal situation challenging and one of which is child custody. Even when couples have agreed to separate, the battle seems unending when children are involved. Both parties are fighting over their children, not knowing how to resolve matters relating to child custody. When it comes to custody disputes, there is one thing that must be kept in mind and that is the best interest of the child. This means that the court will decide based on moral and social situations and respective resources. 

There is also a general rule regarding awarding custody over children: "child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise."

However, this rule is not absolute. There are compelling reasons that may deprive a mother of the custody if the child is below seven years of age. Some examples of unsuitability are abandonment, drug addiction, unemployment, insanity and many more. 

Art. 211. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. In case of disagreement, the father's decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.

Children shall always observe respect and reverence towards their parents and are obliged to obey them as long as the children are under parental authority. 

Art. 212. In case of absence or death of either parent, the parent present shall continue exercising parental authority. The remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children, unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children. (n)

Art. 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit. (n)

Art. 214. In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. In case several survive, the one designated by the court, taking into account the same consideration mentioned in the preceding article, shall exercise the authority. 

Art. 215. No descendant shall be compelled, in a criminal case, to testify against his parents and grandparents, except when such testimony is indispensable in a crime against the descendant or by one parent against the other.

Child Custody And Parental Authority

You can end your marriage, but you cannot end your moral obligation to support your children. If your marriage does not work out, it is always the child who tends to suffer the consequences once married couples decide to part ways. Child support and custody are common issues that parents face. When it comes to the shared right of husband and wife, custody and parental authority remain unclear. What does the Family Code of the Philippines tell you about parental authority and guardianship? 

Art. 209. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority and responsibility shall include the caring for and rearing them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well-being.

Art. 210. Parental authority and responsibility may not be renounced or transferred except in the cases authorized by law.

Art. 211. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. In case of disagreement, the father's decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.

Children shall always observe respect and reverence towards their parents and are obliged to obey them as long as the children are under parental authority.

Art. 212. In case of absence or death of either parent, the parent present shall continue exercising parental authority. The remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children, unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children.

Art. 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit.

No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.

Articles 214 and 216 of the Family Code speak clearly of situations when grandparents can exercise substitute parental authority over their grandchildren:

Art. 214. In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. In case several survive, the one designated by the court, taking into account the same consideration mentioned in the preceding article, shall exercise the authority.

Art. 216. In default of parents or a judicially appointed guardian, the following person shall exercise substitute parental authority over the child in the order indicated:

(1) The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art. 214;

(2) The oldest brother or sister, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified; and

(3) The child's actual custodian, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified.

Whenever the appointment of a judicial guardian over the property of the child becomes necessary, the same order of preference shall be observed.

Fathers Sending Children To Best Schools: Just An Option, Not An Obligation

Most parents dream about providing the best education for their children, but there are circumstances that serve as a deterrent to fulfilling their dreams such as the lack of financial resources. Even from a legal perspective, a father is required to provide support to children, but this does not necessarily mean they are obliged to send them to best schools. While the law mandates parents to provide support for their children, it does not state that a child must be sent to a private upscale school. 

The Family Code of the Philippines provides an explanation about child support to gain a better understanding about this law. 

Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.

The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work. 

Art. 105. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood 

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, 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. 

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership. (n)

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order. 

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters. 

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each.

However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred. 

Art. 201. The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient. 

Questioning The Legitimacy Of A Child

There are different situations that involve questioning the legitimacy of a child. In fact, a birth certificate can be cancelled if there's adequate proof that it is fictitious. Another situation in which the legitimacy can be questioned is when the child was conceived as a result of artificial insemination. Both the husband and wife should prove that insemination was approved otherwise, the wife will be sentenced as an adulteress.

Even if the husband and wife are married, the husband can still question the child's legitimacy based on the following grounds:

Art. 166

(1) That it was physically impossible for the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child because of:

(a) the physical incapacity of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife;

(b) the fact that the husband and wife were living separately in such a way that sexual intercourse was not possible; or

(c) serious illness of the husband, which absolutely prevented sexual intercourse;

(2) That it is proved that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been that of the husband, except in the instance provided in the second paragraph of Article 164; or

(3) That in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification of either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence.

Who may question legitimacy

Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought within one year from the knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil register, if the husband or, in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside in the city or municipality where the birth took place or was recorded.

If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not reside at the place of birth as defined in the first paragraph or where it was recorded, the period shall be two years if they should reside in the Philippines; and three years if abroad. If the birth of the child has been concealed from or was unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period shall be counted from the discovery or knowledge of the birth of the child or of the fact of registration of said birth, whichever is earlier.

Art. 171. The heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child within the period prescribed in the preceding article only in the following cases:

(1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for bringing his action;

(2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint without having desisted therefrom; or

(3) If the child was born after the death of the husband.

Bill Criminalizes Fathers Who Fail To Provide Child Support

Child support is an issue that needs more work because there are still parents who do not take the law seriously by deliberately refusing to give legal support to children despite the court order. Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo has recently filed the bill that criminalizes fathers who fail or refuse to provide legal child support without justifiable cause. If this bill is passed, single mothers who have suffered enough for years raising their children will receive the support intended to them.

At present, the country has Republic Act 9262 otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. In the current law the parent should remit the support to the parent who has the parental authority or legal custody over the child. However, there are still parents who refuse to give legal child support. If the bill will be passed, parents who are unable to provide support for a period of more than six months will be penalized. Any parent who pays less than the agreed amount will also be penalized.

According to the proposed bill, a penalty of P25,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months for the first offense. The parent will also be required to pay the unpaid legal children support fees. The fill is increased to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one but not more than two years. The total unpaid amount of legal child support fees will also be settled. While the bill is still pending in congress, parents will rely on the current law in the meantime.

"Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.

The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.

Art. 201. The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.

Art. 202. Support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same. "

How Can An Illegitimate Child Be Entitled To Child Support

Child support is an issue that unmarried mothers have to face when the child is born out of wedlock. It is often difficult to chase after fathers who have abandoned children to avoid responsibility. In general, children born outside a valid marriage is referred to as illegitimate children, but there are other reasons for illegitimacy.

1. Children born of couples below 18, regardless of the existence of marriage;
2. Children born of incestuous marriages;
3. Children born of adulterous relations between parents;
4. Children born of other void marriages specified under Article 15;
6. Children born of bigamous marriages.

Two Types of Illegitimate Children

1. Recognized illegitimate child: This is the child that the father recognizes or acknowledges. The child is also allowed to use the father's surname. The father can recognize the filiation through: admission made in a public document, admission made in a private handwritten document and father's recognition through the record of birth appearing in the civil register.

2. Unrecognized illegitimate child:The child is know recognized by his biological father and has to use the mother's surname.

While recognized illegitimate children are entitled to the father's support, the unrecognized child may only get support from the father if the relationship between the child and the father is proven. 

"Chapter 3. Illegitimate Children

Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.

The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. (289a)

Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. Except for this modification, all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in force. (287a)
 
Chapter 4. Legitimated Children

Art. 177. Only children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated. (269a)

Art. 178. Legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents. The annulment of a voidable marriage shall not affect the legitimation. (270a)

Art. 179. Legitimated children shall enjoy the same rights as legitimate children. (272a)

Art. 180. The effects of legitimation shall retroact to the time of the child's birth. (273a)

Art. 181. The legitimation of children who died before the celebration of the marriage shall benefit their descendants. (274)

Art. 182. Legitimation may be impugned only by those who are prejudiced in their rights, within five years from the time their cause of action accrues. (275a)"

Reasons For A Mother To Lose Child Custody

In general, the full custody of a child below seven is given to the mother. However, a mother may risk losing custody if found guilty of subjecting children to any type of abuse.

The compelling reasons for a mother to lose child custody:

1. insanity
2. neglect
3. abandonment
4. immorality and unemployment
5. habitual drunkenness
6. drug addiction
7. maltreatment of the child
8. affliction with a communicable illness

For children older than seven years of age, they have the right to state their preference. However, the court is not bound by the children's choice as it also has to exercise its discretion by ensuring that the parent who gets the custody is deemed fit for the role. The custody may also be given to a third person.

"Art. 209. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority and responsibility shall include the caring for and rearing them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well‑being. (n)

The State ought not to interfere with the right of parents to bring up their child unless its exercise causes potential harm to him. The State steps in, through the law, only if there are compelling reasons to do so. State intrusion is uncalled for where the welfare of a child is not jeopardized.

Regardless of marital circumstances, the mother and the father are presumed to be fit and competent to act in the best interest of their child. They can agree to share parental authority or, if you will, parental custody even as they decide to live under separate roofs. In a voluntary joint custody the mother might want to keep the child in her home during schooldays but allow the father to have him on weekends. And they could agree on some device for arriving at a consensus on where the child will study and how his spiritual needs are to be attended to.

The law does not take away from a separating couple the authority and competence to determine what is best for their child. If they resolve on their own that shared parental custody is in their child's best interest, then the law and the courts have no business vetoing their decision. The parents enjoy a primary right to make such decision. I cannot concede that, where the child is below seven years of age, any agreement that diminishes the mothers absolute custody over him is void.

The second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code should not be read as prohibiting separated couples from agreeing to a custody arrangement, other than sole maternal custody, for their child of tender age. The statutory preference for the mothers custody comes into play only when courts are compelled to resolve custody fights between separated parents. Where the parents settle the matter out of court by mutual agreement, the statutory preference reserved to the mother should not apply.

A reading of the entire text of Article 213 shows that the second paragraph applies only to custody disputes that have reached the courtroom. Thus:

Article 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit.

No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.

It is unmistakable that the legislative policy is to vest the separated mother with physical custody of the child under seven years old, in cases where the courts are called upon to designate a parent for the exercise of parental authority. The second sentence of the first paragraph and the second paragraph itself merely qualify the general rule expressed in the first sentence that parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court, in case of parental separation.

In choosing the parent who will exercise parental authority, the court must take into account all relevant considerations. One of these is the child's age, as the court is directed to give due regard to the child's choice, if the child is more than seven years of age. If the child, however, is below seven years of age, the court cannot separate the child from the mother, except for compelling reasons. This is the import of the entire provision.

Thus, no legislative policy is violated if separated parents are allowed to voluntarily agree to a child custody arrangement other than sole maternal custody. It is not the policy of the state to prohibit separated parents from compromising on child custody even if the child is of tender age. On the contrary, voluntary custody agreements are generally favored as it can only work for the best interest of the child.

It is not logical to say that the Court would be subverting the legislative policy of avoiding a tragedy where a mother has seen her baby torn away from her if separated parents are allowed to enter into a joint custody agreement. It can hardly be said that a child is being torn away from the mother, if the mother sees the wisdom and benefit of sharing custody of the child with the father. The voluntary nature of the agreement negates any deep sorrow or sense of deprivation that the mother may experience on account of her separation from the child."

Can You Change An Illegitimate Child's Surname To His Father's?

One question that surely lingers in one's mind when talking about illegitimate children is the use of the father's surname even when parents are not married. The good news is, the mother of the child need not be married to the father for the child to bear the father's surname. However, the child will only be allowed to use it if the child's paternity has been recognised.

Here are the requirements you need to prepare:

1. Valid identification for both parents;
2. Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF);
3. Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Live Birth of the child;
4. Affidavit of Admission of Paternity or the Affidavit of Acknowledgment

Additional details of the process are outlined in Republic Act No. 9255

"Rule 3.   Who may file

Under these rules, the father, mother, child if of age, or the guardian, may file the public document or Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF) in order for the child to use the surname of the father.
 
Rule 4.   Where to file
 
4.1.     The public document or AUSF executed within the Philippines shall be filed at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the child was born, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
 
4.2.     The public document or AUSF executed outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
 
4.3.     The public document or AUSF whether executed within or outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred outside the Philippines.
 
Rule 5.   What to file

The following shall be filed at the LCRO:
 
5.1.     Certificate of Live Birth with accomplished Affidavit of Acknowledgement/ Admission of Paternity at the back
 
5.2.     Public document
 
5.3.     AUSF, including all supporting documents
 
Rule 6.   When to register

The public document not made on the record of birth, or the AUSF shall be registered within twenty (20) days from the date of execution at the place where the birth was registered. Otherwise the procedures of late registration shall be applied.
 
Rule 7.   Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father
 
7.1        For Births Not Yet Registered
 
      7.1.1   The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed
           by the father, either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document.
 
      7.1.2   If admission of paternity is made through a private handwritten instrument, the child shall
           use the surname of the father, provided the registration is supported by the following
           documents:
 
                 a.   AUSF
                 b.   Consent of the child, if 18 years old and over at the time of the filing of the document
                 c.   Any two of the following documents showing clearly the paternity between the father
                 and the child:
 
                       1)   Employment records
                       2)   SSS/GSIS records
                       3)   Insurance
                       4)   Certification of membership in any organization
                       5)   Statement of Assets and Liabilities
                       6)   Income Tax Return (ITR)
 
7.2        For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother
 
      7.2.1   If filiation has been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the surname
          of the father upon the submission of the accomplished AUSF.
 
      7.2.2   If filiation has not been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the
          surname of father upon submission of a public document or a private handwritten
          instrument supported by the documents listed in Rule 7.1.2.
 
7.3        Except in Item 7.2.1, the consent of the illegitimate child is required if he/she has reached the age of majority. The consent may be contained in a separate instrument duly notarized."

Can You Still Demand Support For Your Children Despite The Abandonment?

Children are the ones who suffer the consequences when conflicts between their parents are irreparable. Without a doubt, bad blood exists between estranged spouses especially if one of them chooses to abandon the children. While settling differences between the husband and the wife is no longer a cause for concern, child custody and support are often the contested issues that require attention. If the husband has not fulfilled his obligations to give support, can the estranged wife demand support?

Under Article 203 of the Family Code, the obligation to provide support becomes demandable from the time the individual who has a right to receive support needs it for maintenance. However, it cannot be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.

The person obliged to give support must fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed or by maintaining or receiving in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. However, the second option may not be considered due to moral or legal obstacle. Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 and Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 are laws which provide assistance to women abandoned by their live-in partners or husband.

Republic Act 8972

“Section 4. Criteria for Support. - Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance: Provided, however, That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of this Act.

Section 5. Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services. - A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The DSWD shall coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. The package will initially include:

(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.

(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.

(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.

(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.

(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.”

What happens when the husband refuses to give support?

Section 8 of Republic Act 9262 states, “Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent's employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;”

How Is Support Awarded To A Child Based On The Family Code Of The Philippines?

The door that provides answers to the lingering questions on child support is often less entered. There are no definite answers as some individuals resign to preconceived notions. While child support is not a taboo topic, the circumstances that have gotten a person into this kind of situation makes it difficult to open up. Due to the intricacies that one cannot easily decipher, a single parent chooses to shoulder the responsibilities no matter the challenges.

Although the law does not specify the exact amount that should be given to the child, there are factors that determine the amount of support. The amount is determined based on the giver’s financial capacity or resources and the recipient’s indispensable needs. Once the recipient is in need of maintenance, the support will be considered demandable based on Article 203 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
There are also factors that can lead to the modification of the amount of support. The amount will be changed or modified if there is an increase or reduction of the recipient’s necessities or the means or resources of the individual obliged to furnish the same. The increase or reduction in support will be implemented by motion based on the same proceeding which granted the support.

The persons obliged to support each other include:

•    Legitimate ascendants and descendants;
•    The spouses;
•    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.

The support continues until the child in question reaches 18, which is considered to be the age of majority. However, the support for education will still continue beyond the age of majority. The support for education includes the child’s training, expenses in going to and from school and transportation. There are two options that a person obliged can provide support to the recipient. Support can be given by paying a fixed allowance or maintaining the person entitled to get the support in his dwelling.

In cases where petition for annulment of marriage succeeds, the giver is no longer obliged to support the spouse. Nullity of marital union also discontinues the obligation of the giver to support the spouse. The support is only required to those who are husband and wife. They are the ones who require supporting each other and rendering mutual help.

If the wife is convicted of adultery, the husband will not be obliged to give support to her. This is due to the fact that the wife also loses the right to support. The husband has to prove that adultery has been committed because mere allegation does not bar the wife from her right to support.



­