• Men obliged to support children outside marriage

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I learned that my husband had an affair with another woman. He told me that they only saw each other about five times but when I confronted the woman, she told me that she saw my husband almost every month for the past year. She also claimed that she is bearing my husband’s child and is due to give birth next month. She said that she will file a case against my husband if he does not provide the necessary support for the child.

    My husband, of course, denies it and tends to avoid the topic. As much as I am angry with him right now, I still do not want a case filed against him. What should he do to avoid any legal actions against him?
    MsXd

    Dear MsXd,
    Husbands and wives are obliged to remain loyal and faithful with each other. This is not only a part of the vow they take during their matrimonial celebration. Rather, this is one of the obligations imposed by our laws. As provided for under Article 68 of the Family Code of the Philippines: “The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.” (emphasis supplied)

    The problem these days is that some married couples do not honor the tenets set under our laws and such disregard not only destroys the union between them but may also cause legal predicaments to erring parties.

    In the situation of your husband, it will be best for him to face his current dilemma rather than avoid it because eluding the matter will not resolve anything. He should talk to the woman who claims to bear his child so that they can both have a peaceful resolution on the matter. If he is certain that the child she is bearing is not his because they had no sexual relationship at any point during the time that they were seeing each other, then he should explain this to her.

    However, if there is a possibility that the unborn child is your husband’s child because he had sexual contact with the said woman, then it will be prudent for him to first straighten out this concern. He may also consider going through DNA testing once the child is born to determine his filiation with the said child. DNA testing involves the examination of a person’s Deoxyribonucleic acid to determine his or her identification, and in certain instances, it is done to determine biological relationships between persons.

    Should the outcome of the DNA test reflect that he is indeed the father of this child, he is then obliged to provide support for the latter. It is worth emphasizing that illegitimate children also have the right to be granted support by their parents (Article 176 and Article 195 (4), Family Code). If, despite such outcome, your husband neglects or refuses to provide adequate support, the child, as represented by his or her mother or legal guardian, may file an appropriate action for support against him.

    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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