• Courts can compel father of illegitimate child to provide financial support

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am a single mother with a four-year-old child who is now enrolled in school. I am really pressed for money. I want the father of my child to help defray school expenses.

    The child carries the father’s name. When I spoke to him about my concern, he refused to give money and told me that if I wanted to get money from him, I have to bring him to court. He has a very stable and high paying job but he refuses to share in the burden of financially supporting the child. I know that court proceedings take a long time. Is there a way for me to get financial support from him? Thank you!
    K.A.

    Dear K.A.,
    It appears in your letter that the father of your child prefers to be sued in court instead of settling with you amicably. Article 195(4) of the Family Code obliges parents to support their illegitimate children. Therefore, whether he likes it or not, he is obliged to support you and your child. Unfortunately, since he is unwilling to provide for your child, only the courts can compel him through a court order to give financial support.

    While it is true that litigation in courts may take time, our lawmakers are aware that support is an urgent and immediate need. This is addressed by Article 203 of the Family Code, which mentions that support pendente lite may be claimed under the Revised Rules of Court.

    The Revised Rules of Court provides for a provisional remedy called support pendente lite. This is considered as a provisional remedy or a remedy sought by a party while an action for support is still pending before the courts. This is available to a plaintiff under Rule 61 of the Rules of Court. The plaintiff may, at the beginning or at any time prior to judgment, file a verified petition for support pendente lite “stating the grounds for the claim and financial conditions of both parties.” The petition for support pendente lite must be supported by affidavits, depositions, and other relevant documents.

    Upon filing, the other party will be allowed to answer the application and the court will hear the matter on support pendente lite. Afterwards, the court will determine provisionally the pertinent facts and shall issue an order regarding the application. If the application is granted, the court may fix the amount of support, which must be followed by the parties while the main action for support is being heard.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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