My former boyfriend is an American citizen while I am a Filipino citizen. We were processing my US visa (fiancé visa) application when we learned that I was pregnant. As the weeks passed, I noticed that he was starting to change emotionally. I tried to ignore it because I was thinking that maybe he was just surprised about the pregnancy. Unfortunately, he left me without any support. My mother shouldered all the hospital expenses when I gave birth and I tried to get back on my feet so that I can support myself and my child. I contacted my former boyfriend so that he can acknowledge our child in his birth certificate, but he refused. He even accused me of having an affair with another man and that our child is not his. He is now in the US and told me not to bother asking for support because he will not provide any. I have sought advice and have been told that my child cannot demand support because his father is not a citizen of our country. Is this true? I really want to fight for my child’s right. Please advise me on this matter.
Your problem has two aspects which we want to discuss, that is: (1) the right of your child to support; and (2) invoking such right to support.
Insofar as the first aspect is concerned, it cannot be denied that, under the law, your child has the right to receive support from both you and his father. This is notwithstanding the fact that his father is not a citizen of our country. Article 195 of our Family Code explicitly states that: “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: x x x (4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; x x x”
Insofar as the second aspect is concerned, we submit that the filiation of your child to his father must first be clearly established in order for you to successfully demand support from him. Under our laws, illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children, that is: (1) through the record of birth as appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; (2) by admission of illegitimate filiation done in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the child’s illegitimate filiation shall be proven by: (a) the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child; or (b) other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Article 175 in relation to Article 172, Id.)
If you can establish such filiation despite the fact that your child’s father refused to recognize the latter in his birth certificate, then you may formally demand support from him by filing an action for support before the Regional Trial Court of the place where the said child resides.
However, we cannot disregard the fact that your child’s father, who is a foreigner, is presently outside the Philippines. This may prove to be an added obstacle for you and your child in your quest to invoke the latter’s right for support. Perhaps it would be more prudent for you to request assistance from his embassy or consular office on the matter.
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 email@example.com