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Joy gave birth to her eldest daughter before she turned 17 years old.  Since she was too young to care for her infant, her parents decided to claim Joy’s daughter as their own.  The baby was named Mia and Joy’s parents were listed as the baby’s parents in her birth certificate.

Ten years later, Joy married Mia’s biological father.  A few months into their marriage, both decided that it is time they took over the parental responsibilities for their one and only child.  This includes changing Mia’s last name to the last name of her biological father.  A lawyer friend explained that in order to achieve this, they need to adopt Mia.

Why do you need to adopt your own child?

Mia’s parents could have just easily filed for her Legitimation after they got married however, since Mia’s birth certificate shows her grandparents as her parents, they now need to adopt Mia so she can be legally recognized as their child.

What is the process of adopting your own child?

  1. The husband and wife must file a joint petition for adoption of Mia, with respect to Section 7 of R.A. 8552.  This must be filed at the Family Court of the province or city where the adopting parties reside.
  2. The petition should include the couple’s application for the change of surname of Mia.  Since Mia is already 16 years old at the time of adoption, her consent on the adoption is also needed.  She should be made aware that should she agree to the adoption, her last name will change to that of her biological father’s and custody will be transferred to her biological parents.

How will this kind of adoption be treated by the Family Court?

There are three kinds of adoption in the Philippines:

  1. Agency Adoptions – a licensed adoption agency finds and develops adoptive families for children under their care.
  2. Family or Relative Adoptions – where biological parents make a direct placement of the child to a relative.
  3. Private or Independent Adoptions – either a direct placement to a family known by the child’s biological parents or through the use of an intermediary or a go-between.

Mia’s adoption falls under Family or Relative Adoptions since her grandparents stood as her biological parents.  Take note that this could pose an issue in court as the grandparents might be accused of falsifying the child’s birth documents (listing themselves as Mia’s parents), but that is a separate matter that can be tackled in a different article later on.

What will be the effect of this kind of adoption?

  1. Mia’s legal ties with her grandparents (standing as her parents) will be severed.  They shall now assume the roles of grandparents to Mia and that is something they can deal with as a family.
  2. She will now be treated as a legitimate child of her adopters (who are actually her biological parents).
  3. Mia and her biological parents now have reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including but not limited to:
    • The right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known;
    • The right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each other.

Joy and her husband’s petition for adoption was granted by the Family Court.  It took a while before Mia got used to her new living arrangement and still opts to spend her weekends with her grandparents.  Mia’s inheritance, as stated in her grandparents’ will, remained intact in spite of the changes in her name and legitimacy.

So yes, you can adopt your own child.  It all depends on the events surrounding your circumstances and, up to a certain degree, your lawyer’s skill in convincing the Family Court that your petition merits approval.

Reference: http://www.gov.ph/2002/07/31/rule-on-adoption/

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