In this country, the number of single unwed mothers is escalating.
According to a few expat friends, apparently being a single unwed mother in the Philippines is deemed “acceptable” now. Though the point of what is acceptable or not in this culture is still up for further study and discussion, we did find common ground that it is never “acceptable” for the presumed father to abandon the mother and child thus leaving them without financial support.
Too many of these single, unwed women end up unable to support these children from wedlock. Many of those women have to turn to unsavory work in order to support the child because the fathers often do not. A friend of mine sums up this social and moral concern perfectly: “Personally, the inability and/or refusal to support your child is immoral, if not, should be found as a criminal act.”
You can go into any bar here in the Philippines and talk to the many women working in them and it is often the same old story over and over again. And this does not only encapsulate your stereotypical bar girl but even educated, professional, single women who are struggling to make ends meet in order to provide for their child.
The number of single unwed women is increasing and in the Philippines it is happening way too often. In fact, it seems that most girls here think that having a baby is the greatest thing in the world – kind of like getting a new toy, but that wears off awfully quick once the honeymoon phase is over.
In the Philippines, it seems that finding a child with two married parents is the exception instead of the rule. Find a Filipino guy that does not think its OK to bed any girl he can. It is this same macho attitude that permeates most developing countries. Given the lack of education, guidance, leadership, apathy and female empowerment, Filipino women are always on the losing end. Unwed mothers, has it become acceptable? No I don’t think it is acceptable, but given the circumstances, I think it is inevitable.
Anyone can have sex and make children, lots of it. But to be a parent? Now that takes a lifetime commitment. To my educated readers, it goes without saying that sex education is paramount. Though using contraception may not be deemed moral in a religious country such as the Philippines, but don’t you think it even more immoral if another defenseless human being suffer a lifetime of impoverished existence? So before you unzip, (and this goes to both parties) think and ask yourself: Am I really ready to be a parent?
In relation to the above, I’ve detailed some items below that hopefully could be of use to some women who read my website, particularly Article 194 – 208 of the Philippine Family Code. Remember: ignorance of the law excuses no one.
Technicalities: Claiming Child Support
For the single mother and child to survive, it is crucial that support be demanded from the father. To claim or demand support, the single mother must first prove that the child is related to the presumed father. Once proven, the written claim must be sent to the father with proof that such demand was received. In case the father disputes his paternity, this can easily be established by a DNA test.
If the father of the child refuses to provide child support despite receiving a written demand, the single mother can now sue the father for child support.
In case a child is taken away without the consent of the mother, the mother can file a civil and/or criminal case under Republic Act No. 90262, or “The Anti-Violence Act against Women and Children”. Or, she may choose to file kidnapping charges under the Revised Penal Code. In case the father, who had been given access, takes the child away contrary to the terms under which he was given access, the mother can sue him under RA No. 9262 or file a petition for contempt against him for violating any court order.
Basic Principles of Child Support:
- It is everything that is indispensable for food, shelter, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation in keeping with the financial capacity of the family
- It is joint (whether the parents are married or not), based on the proportion of the resources
- It is based on the needs of the child and the means of the parents (there are no fixed percentages or rules on how much child support will be given)
- It is never final (as the situation changes, so, too will child support requirements)
- It must be demanded.
An excerpt from the Family Code of the Philippines on Child Support:
Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.
The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.
Art. 105. 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
Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cise imputable to the claimant’s fault or negligence.
Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership.
Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order.
Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:
(1) The spouse;
(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;
(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and
(4) The brothers and sisters.
Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each. However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.
When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred.
Art. 201. The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.
Art. 202. Support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same.
Art. 203. The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.
Support pendente lite may be claimed in accordance with the Rules of Court.
Payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance.
Art. 204. The person obliged to give support shall have the option to fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed, or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto.
Art. 205. The right to receive support under this Title as well as any money or property obtained as such support shall not be levied upon on attachment or execution.
Art. 206. When, without the knowledge of the person obliged to give support, it is given by a stranger, the latter shall have a right to claim the same from the former, unless it appears that he gave it without intention of being reimbursed.
Art. 207. When the person obliged to support another unjustly refuses or fails to give support when urgently needed by the latter, any third person may furnish support to the needy individual, with right of reimbursement from the person obliged to give support. This Article shall particularly apply when the father or mother of a child under the age of majority unjustly refuses to support or fails to give support to the child when urgently needed.
Art. 208. In case of contractual support or that given by will, the excess in amount beyond that required for legal support shall be subject to levy on attachment or execution.
Furthermore, contractual support shall be subject to adjustment whenever modification is necessary due to changes of circumstances manifestly beyond the contemplation of the parties.
Family Code of the Philippines, Article 194 – 208