Single mother seeks support for illegitimate daughter

Published by rudy Date posted on April 15, 2011

Dear PAO,
I have a 14-year-old daughter but she was not recognized by her father. When the father learned that I was pregnant, he left me. My daughter never met her father.

After a couple of years, I saw her father again and asked him if he wanted to see our daughter but he refused. He said he was not yet ready. Then I found out that he got another woman pregnant. Since then, I never heard anything from him. For 14 years, I raised my daughter all by myself and never asked for any support from him. I did not even consider bothering him to do his obligation and just decided to raise my daughter alone and have a happy, normal and peaceful life.

But things are different now. My daughter is going to college in 2 years. I wanted to give her the best education possible or whatever education she prefers. But at my present condition, I don’t think it is possible. I am just a regular employee earning enough to pay our regular expenses.

I learned that the father is working in Qatar right now and is capable of giving financial support to my daughter. I want to ask if it is still possible for me to demand from him or is it too late now. Please enlighten me also of the steps I need to take. Am I qualified to avail of PAO’s free legal services?
Chevy

Dear Chevy,
We admire your determination and guts to raise your own daughter without having to rely on her father for support.

You may have done this to show her father that you don’t need him.

However, as your daughter grows older, her needs increase and if you would depend on your salary alone to meet her growing needs, it may not be sufficient.

This time you have to swallow your pride and ask for help from her father for financial support.

Support according to the Family Code of the Philippines is comprised of everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family (Article 194, Family Code of the Philippines).

On the other hand, Article 195 of the said law enumerates the persons who are obliged to give support to each other, which includes parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter.

Thus, your daughter has a right to demand support from her father.

However, since your daughter was not recognized by her father, it is necessary that their relationship must be established first so that she may be able to exercise such right.

Once filiation is proved, her father may be compelled to give support. This may be done through the filing of an action in court for child recognition and support.

The filing of such action will entail the services of a lawyer. If you cannot afford to engage the services of a private lawyer, you may avail the free legal services of PAO, provided that you are an indigent client according to the criteria set under the PAO Operations Manual.

Section 3 thereof provides:
“Indigency Test – Taking into consideration recent surveys on the amount needed by an average Filipino family to (a) buy its “food consumption basket” and (b) pay for its household and personal expenses, the following shall be considered indigent persons:

1. If residing in Metro Manila, whose net income does not exceed P14,000 a month;

2. If residing in other cities, whose net income does not exceed P13,000 a month; and

3. If residing in all other places, whose net income does not exceed P12,000 a month.

The term “net income” as herein employed, shall be understood to refer to the income of the litigant less statutory deductions.

“Statutory deductions” shall refer to withholding taxes, GSIS, SSS, Pag-ibig, Health Insurance and PhilHealth premiums as well as mandatory deductions

For purposes of this section, ownership of land shall not per se, constitute a ground for disqualification of an applicant for free legal assistance, in view of the ruling in Juan Enaje vs Victorio Ramos et. al.
(G.R. No. L-22109, January 30, 1970), that the determinative factor for indigency is the income of the litigant and not his ownership of real property.”

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. –Persida Acosta, Manila Times

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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