• Illegitimate children can demand financial support

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have two minor illegitimate children, aged 5 and 6 years old. Their father and I never got married because we separated after the birth of our youngest child. A few months after our separation, he had a relationship with another woman, with whom he is now married. Can my children claim for support even if they are using my surname and not their father’s? Their father used to give support, but he stopped when he started dating this woman who is now his wife. I hope you can enlighten me. Thank you and best regards.
    Vex

    Dear Vex,
    There are five sources of obligations: (1) Law; (2) Contracts; (3) Quasi-contracts; (4) Acts or omissions punished by law; and (5) Quasi-delicts (Article 1157, New Civil Code of the Philippines).

    Insofar as the obligation to provide support, such stems from our law. Particularly, it is stated under Article 195 of the Family Code of the Philippines 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: (1) The spouses; (2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants; (3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; (4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and (5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood.”

    However, it should be emphasized that the relationship between the person who seeks to be given support and the person with whom they seek support from must be clearly established in order for the former to adequately demand support from the latter. For instance, children who seek support from their parents must establish their respective filiation. Under the law, filial relationship of legitimate children may be established through: (1) record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence of the foregoing, legitimate filiation shall be proved by the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws (Article 172, Ibid.). Illegitimate children, on the other hand, may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children (Article 175, Id).

    Applying the foregoing in the situation of your children, we submit that they may demand support from their father provided that they can establish, with your assistance, their illegitimate filiation with the latter. The fact that they are using your surname, and not their father’s, is not an obstacle as long as they can establish, in some other manner but as provided under Article 175 in relation to Article 172 of the Code, that they were acknowledged or their filiation were recognized by their father.

    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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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