I am a married man who had an affair with another woman. She gave birth to a child last year and she had been claiming that I am the father of her child. I did not sign the child’s birth certificate because I have doubts that I am the child’s father. Now the mother is threatening to file a petition against me for support. In this case, is there any legal obligation that I need to comply even if I did not sign the birth certificate? Can she force me to sign?
The legal obligation of the father to provide for support to his illegitimate child is based on Article 195 (3) of the Family Code, which states that parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter have reciprocal legal obligation to provide support to each other. Accordingly, in a petition for support filed by illegitimate child against his father, a proof of filiation is necessarily attached thereto to prove paternity thereof. The filiation of illegitimate children is established in any of the following manners mentioned under Article 172 in relation with Article 175 of the Family Code: (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 such evidence said filiation may 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.
Thus, the mother can only demand from you legal support for her illegitimate child if she has evidence to prove that you are the father of her child. Since you have not signed the child’s birth certificate, the mother should first petition the court for the recognition of her child as your illegitimate child through other evidence mentioned under Article 172 in relation to Article 175 of the Family Code. The mother of your alleged child cannot force you to sign any document that would have the effect of acknowledging the child as yours, since that would be tantamount to coercion, a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code.
As to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test, the court can only order the testing of the same either motu proprio or on application of any person who has legal interest in the matter in litigation after due hearing and notice to the parties upon showing, among other things, that the DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce new information that is relevant to the proper resolution of the case. Nevertheless, DNA testing may be done even without court order if so requested as desired by the parties (A.M. No. 06-11-5-SC, Rule on DNA Evidence).
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated.