• Parental obligation to support child emanates from law

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    dearpao
    Dear PAO,
    I worked in Dubai for almost five years and there I met the father of my daughter. We are both Filipinos. We never got married, but my daughter is using her father’s surname.

    I only learned that the father of my child is already married right after I gave birth. He provided support when I was still in Dubai, but he no longer gives support now that I am in Singapore. I just want to know how I can seek support for my daughter. Is he still obligated to give support even if we are both abroad and knowing that my child with him is illegitimate?
    Zarah

    Dear Zarah,
    The obligation of a parent to provide support for his or her child emanates from our law. This responsibility attaches whether the parent’s relationship with his or her child is legitimate or illegitimate. As provided for under Article 195 of the Family Code of the Philippines, “x x x the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article: x x x (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; x x x”

    Nevertheless, it is necessary for the party seeking support to prove the filiation between the parent and the child concerned. This may be done by the presentation of the child’s record of birth as appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, admission of legitimate filiation by the parent concerned in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the said parent, the child’s open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child, or by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws (Article 175 in relation to Article 172, id).

    In the situation that you have presented before us, we submit that you may seek support from the father of your child. It is only incumbent upon you to demand support from him because as a rule, support shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand (Article 203, id).

    We would also like to emphasize that the fact that you and the father of your child live abroad is not an obstacle for you to invoke your child’s right to support. Being Filipino citizens, our national laws attach regardless of where we are. This is in consonance with Article 15 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which states that “Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.”

    However, if you wish to file a case against him and such will be done in Singapore, considering that you are currently there, please be advised that you must give due consideration with the pertinent Singaporean laws, rules and regulations as our remedial laws may not be similar to the laws of Singapore. Hence, it will be more prudent for you to consult a local lawyer in the place near your residence in Singapore. If you wish to file a case here in the Philippines, you or your child’s legal guardian may file an action for support before the Regional Trial Court of the place where you or your child resides.

    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@manilAatimes.net

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