May a person of age still ask for parental support?

Atty. Noel Atienza
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The answer is yes and no. (Mostly no.) It’s true that when your child reaches the age of eighteen, they are legally seen as an adult and are legally responsible for their own behavior instead of their parents. … The truth is, no matter how old your child, you have the right to enforce the rules of your house.

Parents of the minor child shall have the right to custody over their children. The right of custody accorded to parents’ springs from the exercise of parental authority. Under the Family Code, the father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children.

Who has custody of the child when the parents are separated or not married?

According to Article 176 of the Philippine Family Code, a child is considered illegitimate if the child is born out of wedlock, and in such cases, the parental authority and custody of the child fall on the mother.

The petition for custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner resides or where the minor may be found. (d) Such other matters which are relevant to the custody of the minor.

Every child has the right to a wholesome family life that will provide him/her with love, care and understanding, guidance and counseling, and moral and material security. … In short: Every child has the right to live with a family who loves, cares and teaches good morals to him/her.

In addition to the right to support, a recognized illegitimate child shall also have the right to use the surname of his father (Section 1, RA 9255), and the right to inherit from him through succession (Article 887, Civil Code of the Philippines).

Child support is regular financial support provided by a parent who does not have custody of the child (i.e. his dad). It is used for the needs of the child and is usually given to the parent who has custody of the child (i.e. his mom). It can also be paid by both parents if someone else, like a relative, has custody of the child.

Are minors (or children under 18 years old) automatically under the custody of a mother? At what age can a child choose to live with either parent?

It depends.  In the case of married couples, the father and the mother jointly exercise parental authority (and therefore, joint custody) of a child.  However, in case of disagreement between the spouses, the father’s decision shall prevail unless there is a judicial order to the contrary (Art. 211, Family Code).

If the marriage is terminated by an annulment or declaration of nullity decree, there is a presumption in the Family Code as stated in Article 102 (6) and Article 129 (9) that any child below 7 years old is deemed to choose the mother, unless the court decides otherwise.  In all cases, the court shall take into consideration the best interests of the child in making its decision. 

For single mothers, they have sole parental authority over their child.  The father of the child cannot be deprived of his parental rights to have access to the child in case he desires this.  This can include temporary custody over the child.

What are the specific laws that pertain to child support, especially for single mothers? What can single mothers do to demand child support from the father?

Support can be found under Articles 193 to 203 of the Family Code.  Support has some basic principles:

  • 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.

To claim or demand support, the single mother must prove that the child is related to the putative father.  In case the father disputes his paternity, this can easily be established by a DNA test.

The single mother must demand for child support, and this is best done in writing, with proof that such demand was received by the father.   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 the case a child is taken away without the consent of the single mother, what legal actions can a single mother take?

The single mother can file a civil and/or criminal case under Republic Act No. 90262, or “The Anti-Violence Act against Women and Children”.  Or, the single mother can also 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 single mother can sue him under RA No. 9262 or file a petition for contempt against him for violating any court order.

Parenting is tough enough, but undertaking it alone because of some reason or other? Tougher. We salute all moms out there who are doing a good job raising their kiddos without the help of a partner. And to help out a bit, here are some things single moms out there should know about child custody and securing child support.

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