­

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.

What Are The Rights Of An Illegitimate Child?

Being a parent is a huge responsibility, but parental responsibilities can be stressful if you are a single parent. You need to fulfil the roles of a mother and a father and make sure that your child’s basic needs are met. Child custody and support may be one of the intense issues for couples who choose to go on separate ways. If fighting for the custody of the child is burdensome to separated couples, just imagine the ordeal of single parents. What exactly are the rights of a child of an unwed mother? As stipulated in Republic Act No. 9225, children conceived or born outside a valid marriage still has the right to establish filiation and their rights as to their inheritance and surname. For the illegitimate children to establish relationship with their biological parent, they need to have the same evidence as the legitimate children.

Proving filiation of legitimate and illegitimate children:

•    Record of birth, which appears in the civil register or a final judgment;

•    Legitimate filiation admission in a public document or any private handwritten instrument, which is signed by the parent concerned.

If the evidence cannot be presented, filiation can be proved by:

•    The continuous and open possession of the status of a legitimate child; or

•    Other means approved by the Rules of Court and special laws.

Laws supporting the right of illegitimate children are also outlined in Republic Act No. 386:

"SECTION 1

Recognition of Natural Children

Article 276. A natural child may be recognized by the father and mother jointly, or by only one of them. (129)

Article 277. In case the recognition is made by only one of the parents, it shall be presumed that the child is natural, if the parent recognizing it had legal capacity to contract marriage at the time of the conception. (130)

Article 278. Recognition shall be made in the record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record, or in any authentic writing. (131a)

Article 279. A minor who may not contract marriage without parental consent cannot acknowledge a natural child, unless the parent or guardian approves the acknowledgment or unless the recognition is made in a will. (n)

Article 280. When the father or the mother makes the recognition separately, he or she shall not reveal the name of the person with whom he or she had the child; neither shall he or she state any circumstance whereby the other parent may be identified. (132a)

Article 281. A child who is of age cannot be recognized without his consent.
When the recognition of a minor does not take place in a record of birth or in a will, judicial approval shall be necessary.
A minor can in any case impugn the recognition within four years following the attainment of his majority. (133a)

Article 282. A recognized natural child has the right:

(1) To bear the surname of the parent recognizing him;

(2) To receive support from such parent, in conformity with article 291;

(3) To receive, in a proper case, the hereditary portion which is determined in this Code. (134)

Article 283. In any of the following cases, the father is obliged to recognize the child as his natural child:

(1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the offense coincides more or less with that of the conception;

(2) When the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father by the direct acts of the latter or of his family;

(3) When the child was conceived during the time when the mother cohabited with the supposed father;

(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his father. (n)

Article 284. The mother is obliged to recognize her natural child:

(1) In any of the cases referred to in the preceding article, as between the child and the mother;

(2) When the birth and the identity of the child are clearly proved. (136a)

Article 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be brought only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in the following cases:

(1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which case the latter may file the action before the expiration of four years from the attainment of his majority;

(2) If after the death of the father or of the mother a document should appear of which nothing had been heard and in which either or both parents recognize the child.

In this case, the action must be commenced within four years from the finding of the document. (137a)

Article 286. The recognition made in favor of a child who does not possess all the conditions stated in article 269, or in which the requirements of the law have not been fulfilled, may be impugned by those who are prejudiced by such recognition. (137)

SECTION 2

Other Illegitimate Children

Article 287. Illegitimate children other than natural in accordance with article 269 and other than natural children by legal fiction are entitled to support and such successional rights as are granted in this Code. (n)

Article 288. Minor children mentioned in the preceding article are under the parental authority of the mother. (n)

Article 289. Investigation of the paternity or maternity of children mentioned in the two preceding articles is permitted under the circumstances specified in articles 283 and 284. (n)"

Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero On The Trends In Family Law [Video]

The family law in the Philippines has significantly changed over the years. While marriage's definition was used to be a simple union between a man and a woman, it is considered a special contract at present. A contract that prevents either parties from changing partners at the same rate they change their clothes. Revisions and additions on the family code are inevitable especially in this modern day and age when same sex marriage has also stirred a web of controversy. Perhaps, the family law in the country has once lain dormant and only awakened by the prevalence of domestic abuse, infidelity, etc. The video provides an overview of the recent changes and trends in family law. The changes benefit both traditional and modern families. They provide more options to couples who wish to seek legal assistance or advice. Are you also aware of the changes and trends in family law? How do you feel about them? Let us know your thoughts.

A Quick Look Into Islamic Divorce In Mindanao

In the Philippines married couples have two options to put an end to marital union: annulment and legal separation. While divorce advocates have been fighting for the legalization of divorce in the Philippines, there is no sign yet that people who want it legalized will emerge victorious. However, it is a different scenario in Muslim Mindanao or in Islamic laws to be more specific. In fact, Islamic laws grant three kinds of divorce and each of them has separate rules. These three kinds of divorce are talaq, li’an and khula. 

Islamic divorce in Mindanao defined: 

1. Talaq

In a talaq divorce, the Muslim husband initiates a divorce and pronounces the word talaq (I divorce you)  to his wife, but this can be withdrawn if both parties decide for reconciliation.  The word talaq can only be withdrawn twice and divorce will be considered irrevocable the third time the word is pronounced. In order to complete irrevocable divorce, the husband needs to comply with the requirements. 

2. Khula

Khula gives a woman the right to seek a divorce. The woman must also follow a waiting period and as compared to the right of men to initiate divorce, women’s rights are only limited. Women will be granted divorce if the husband failed to provide her basic needs or if there was no intercourse taking place for more than two months. Women must also repay marriage expenses and her dowry. If the child is older than seven years, the woman who seeks a divorce will not be granted child custody. However, the custody will be granted if the child is below seven years. By the time the child reaches the age of seven, the woman must give full custody to the father.  

3. Lian

Lian is also referred to as mulaana and this type of divorce is initiated when the husband accused the wife of adultery. This divorce is based on Quranic verses. There are three conditions that must be met for the husband to initiate Lian:

• The marriage state must be continuing.

• The marriage must be valid and there should be witnesses when the marriage was solemnized. 

• The husband must be liable to become a witness and has not received any punishment of qazf in the past. 

The financial obligations in divorce will also dependent on the length of marriage. The income levels of either the husband or the wife will also be taken into consideration. Once divorce is granted, the Islamic laws will apply wherein the wife is not entitled to the assets that have been earned during marriage.

All You Need To Know About Marriage Annulment In The Philippines

In a country where divorce has not yet been legalized the next available option for couples who have reached the end of the line is marriage annulment. Before anyone can declare nullity of marriage, it is important that you have clearly understood what an annulment is. 

Common questions on annulment of marriage answered: 

1. What is an annulment? 

In a nutshell, the term is referred to by non-lawyers as cases undergoing annulment proceedings. On a legal perspective, it refers to annulment cases that fall under a specific Family Code. On the other hand, annulment of marriage is a court process that nullifies marital union. Even if couples are no longer living together, marriage remains valid until the court provides declaration of nullity. Note that void marriage is entirely different from voidable marriage. One cannot file the petition for annulment if the marriage has been considered void or invalid. 

2. What are the grounds of marriage annulment?

• Lack of parental consent. 

• Insanity

• Fraud

• Consent gained by force or intimidation

• Physical incapacity

• Sexually Transmitted Disease

3. What are the factors that cannot be considered grounds for annulment? 

• Infidelity

• Separation 

4. How do you get started with the annulment process? 

You will need to get an attorney for the process and be asked to write your marital history. You need to provide detailed information including the date you met your spouse. The description needs to be vivid and should also include the personality of your spouse as this is part of the case assessment. You will have to undergo psychological evaluation process to ensure that you have a sound mind when the petition was filed.  After the psychological evaluation, drafting and filing of petition will follow. You need to sign the petition before it is sent to the Regional Trial Court.  

Your spouse will receive a notification, referred to as summons informing him that a petition was filed. The petition needs to be answered 15 days from receipt. Notices will be served through publication in case the spouse is not in the country. There will be a series of investigation before the trial stage commences.  

5. Who is entitled for child custody in case of an annulment? 

Joint custody will be awarded unless the children have not reached the age of seven. For children below seven years old, the custody will be given to the mother and the father is given visiting privileges.  

6. Does filing the petition guarantee a marriage annulment? 

There is no guarantee that annulment will be granted and even the lawyers are prohibited to guarantee the outcome of the cases. 

7. What is the average time frame for the proceedings to be completed? 

On average, a decision is made within a year because there are several factors that must be taken into account such as the availability of the judge, court personnel, prosecutor, petitioner and psychologist. The time frame may also vary from place to place. 

8. Can petition for annulment be filed without the spouse’s consent? 

The consent or signature of your spouse will not be required if you wish to file a petition for marriage annulment. In fact, parties should not come to an agreement about filing the annulment petition. Investigations will also be conducted to check if both parties had a mutual agreement of filing the petition or have been fabricating evidence.

Understanding Child Support In the Philippines

When married couples decide to put an end to the relationship, it is always the children that are caught in the middle. The scenario wherein one party demands for child support can become an endless battle. This is where R.A. 9262 steps in. It is a sad fact that even after the annulment proceedings, both parties just cannot meet halfway let alone having an agreement with child support. However, child support should not be a complicated issue. Child support refers to a policy in which regular payment for the financial support of a child must be made. It is very common among cases of marriage annulment, invalid marriages and children who are born out of relationships which are non-marital.  Although there are some technicalities that make the entire process difficult to understand, just catching a glimpse of the family code will help you gain basic knowledge. 

Based on articles 195 and 196 of the Family Code, the following are required to support each other: 

• The spouses;

• Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

• Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

• Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

• Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood.

On the other hand articles 194, 201 and 202 states that the support must be in proportion to the provider’s resources and the recipient’s necessities. 

When it comes to supporting the recipient’s education, the support covers the training or schooling, and expenses, which include transportation and allowances. The support can be given in two options: either paying a fixed allowance or maintaining the person entitled to receive support in the giver’s dwelling. 

However, if the petition of annulment was successful, you are no longer required to provide support unless there was mutual agreement on both parties regarding rendering support. So long as the hearing for the petition is ongoing and the decisions have not been ruled out yet, the support must be continuous. 

When filing for child support, the first step will be filing the case in the court system. Relevant information must also be provided and necessary documents needs to be secured. Some of the documents that you will be required to submit include a valid photo ID card, proof of address, birth certificate of the child or children, proof of income, payment history and many more. 

The requirements must be completed before any hearing could take place. The court will provide the date of hearing and the non-custodial parent will be informed about it. The information that was provided will be validated and parents are required to answer questions the court may have about parenthood. The process can be lengthy depending on the circumstances and evidence presented. 



­