Husband may adopt wife’s child out of wedlock


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I just want to ask if my husband can adopt my son who was born out of wedlock. My husband and I got married only last July but we have been living together for five years now. He basically helped me raise my son who is now seven years old, because the latter’s biological father passed away while I was still single and pregnant with my son. My husband thinks it will be best for my son to be adopted since we have no child of our own yet, and also in order that my son will not get confused as he grows up. I hope you can advise me on the matter. Thank you and best regards.

Dear Cecille,
Pursuant to Section 5 (3) of A.M. No.02-6-02-SC or the Rule on Adoption, an illegitimate child may be adopted by a qualified adopter in order to raise the status of the former to that of legitimacy.

To be considered as a qualified adopter, however, it is essential to establish the following: For Filipino citizens, they must be (1) of legal age, (2) in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, (3) of good moral character, (4) have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, (5) emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, (6) at least sixteen years older than the adoptee, and (7) in a position to support and care for the children in keeping with the means of the family. The sixth requirement (16-year difference in the age of the adopter and adoptee) may be waived if the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent. For foreign citizens, they must possess the same qualifications for Filipino citizens and in addition: (1) their country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, (2) that they have been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, (3) that they have been certified by his diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency to have the legal capacity to adopt in their country, and (4) that their government allows the adoptee to enter their country as their adopted child. (Section 4, Id.) Note that the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his country may be waived if the adopter is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse. (Id.)

Accordingly, your husband, together with yourself, can adopt your minor illegitimate son, so as to raise the status of your son to that of legitimacy, if you are both qualified based on the above-mentioned criteria. Please be advised that the verified petition for adoption must be filed before the Regional Trial Court, sitting as a Family Court, of the province or city where your family resides. If a change of name of the child is also prayed, the title or caption must contain your son’s registered name, aliases or other names by which he has been known, and the full name by which he is to be known. (Section 10, Id.)

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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


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