Tag Archive: ANNULMENT


Apr 03 (2)

There are four additional grounds that the divorce bill will include in the list of reasons why a person may seek to dissolve his or her marriage.  Bear in mind that the grounds listed for legal separation and annulment remain in effect and are carried into the divorce bill.

 Below are the grounds under Article 55 of the Family Code, and Annulment under Article 55 of the same code:

  1. Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner.
  2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation.
  3. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years, even if pardoned.
  4. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling of the respondent.
  5. Homosexuality of the respondent.
  6. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad.
  7. Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when the spouses have agreed to have a child through in vitro or a similar procedure, or when the wife bears a child as a result of being a rape victim.
  8. Attempt against the life of the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner.
  9. Abandonment without justifiable cause for more than a year.
  10. Those legally separated by judicial decree for more than two years can also avail of divorce.
  11. One of the spouses was older than 18 but younger than 21 at the time of marriage without the consent of a parent, guardian, or substitute parental authority unless, after the age of 21, the pair freely cohabitated and lived together.
  12. Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming to reason, freely cohabitated with the other.
  13. The consent of one party was obtained through fraud unless, despite after knowing the fraud, continued to cohabit as husband and wife.
  14. That the consent of one party was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence unless, despite the cessation of such, the pair continued to cohabit.
  15. That either party was incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and the incapacity continues or appears to be incurable.
  16. That either party is afflicted with a sexually transmissible infection that is serious or appears to be incurable.

The bill introduces four additional bases for divorce:

  1. Separation for at least five years at the time the petition is filed, with reconciliation highly improbable, except if the separation is due to the overseas employment of one or both spouses in different countries, or due to the employment of one of the spouses in another province or region distant from the conjugal home.
  2. Psychological incapacity of the other spouse as defined in Article 36 of the Family Code, whether or not the incapacity was present at the time of marriage or later.
  3. When one of the spouses undergoes gender reassignment surgery or transition from one sex to another.
  4. Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts resulting in the total breakdown of the marriage beyond repair despite the efforts of both spouses.

What do you think of the listed grounds for divorce?  Do you think these aptly cover all possible situations that an unhappily married couple may face?

We’d love to hear from you!

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Apr 02

On February 21, 2018, the House Committee on Population and Family Relations gave its thumbs up to the bill that will introduce divorce as a means to dissolve marriages in the Philippines.  As of the moment, the only way you can get out of a dysfunctional marriage is through annulment, which costs a fortune and will seek to prove that your marriage is invalid.  This means that if the court fails to find substantial grounds to prove that your union is null then your petition for annulment will not be granted and you remain married to your spouse.  Divorce, on the other hand, will end a legal marriage and make both parties free to marry other people.

There are only two countries in the world that do not recognize divorce in its territories: the Philippines and the Vatican.  Ours is a predominantly Christian nation and it is for this reason that the proposal to legalize divorce has always been shelved.  In the Philippines, married couples may dissolve their union through an annulment petition that is both tedious and costly.  Divorce seeks to address both issues.

To help us understand what’s inside the divorce bill, we summarized five important key points in the law.

  1. Divorce only seeks to terminate a continuing dysfunction of a long broken marriage.

Since annulment does not recognize infidelity as grounds for separation, couples seem trapped in this situation until the parties decide to just take matters into their own hands – amicably go their separate ways and pursue relationships with other people.  In the end, they remain married and all things related to their marriage (conjugal properties, child custody and support, etc.) continue to be part of their lives as husband and wife and parents to their children.

Divorce will help such couples obtain their legal rights to marry other people.

A dysfunctional marriage is not necessarily the result of one or both party’s infidelity.  Some couples simply fall out of love and no longer wish to be part of the union.  Again, these types of reasons for separation do not hold water in an annulment petition.  Only divorce can make it possible for couples, who no longer love each other, to dissolve their marriage and find marital bliss elsewhere.

  1. Divorce will be a more affordable means for the common Pinoy to end a marriage.

Women who cannot afford the costs of an annulment are literally left with no choice but to remain married forever.  These women could be physically, emotionally, psychologically, or economically abused by their husbands – or the other way around (wives abusing their husband’s rights and privileges).  Divorce gives them the opportunity to seek freedom from abusive partners, even if they could not afford the costs of an annulment.

Indigent divorce applicants can enjoy free litigation fees and will be afforded with competent public lawyers to represent them in court.

  1. Divorce will not abolish legal separation and annulment.

Couples still have the option to go for either, even while divorce is already made available for them.

  1. The Cooling Off Period

Those who think that divorce is the fast and easy way out of a legal marriage are in for a surprise.  Divorce applicants will be required to undergo a 6-month cooling off period as a means to try and reconcile the couple.  This, however, is waived when the petition is filed due to domestic abuse or if staying in the marriage poses danger to the life of the spouse or any of his or her children.

  1. The divorce decree will include custody of children, protection of the children’s inheritance, liquidation of conjugal partnerships or gains or absolute community, and alimony for the innocent spouse.

Foremost in the bill’s agenda is, of course, the welfare of the children that will be involved in the couple’s separation.  Each party’s right over custody of their children will also be taken up and finalized while the divorce application is being heard in court.

 

Visit us again tomorrow as we will be featuring the grounds for divorce and how these differ from the existing provisions under the Annulment and Legal Separation laws.

Reference: https://www.rappler.com/nation/196612-explainer-house-divorce-bill

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Feb 26

In the Philippines, if you would like to regain your capacity to marry, you need to file a case for annulment and pray that you win the battle against your spouse.  It is a long and tedious process of mainly destroying the character of the person you married to prove that the marriage was either: not valid from the beginning or was acquired by force, intimidation, or undue influence.  It is an expensive and traumatic process for the couple and their children.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations and approved a substitute bill that consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage.  Various questions arose from this news: how is divorce different from annulment?  Is it going to be an easier and shorter process than annulment?  Is it going to be cheaper?

These are interesting questions that led us to dig deeper into this topic.  We found remarkable information that can help us better understand and appreciate the proposal.  We hope you find these useful too.

Annulment vs. Divorce

What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

According to www.justia.com, an annulment of marriage is a legal decree that a marriage is null and void.  Annulments are granted when a court makes a finding that a marriage is invalid.  While divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

Annulment vs. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage

Annulment applies to a marriage that is considered valid, but there are grounds to nullify it.  While a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage applies to marriages that are void or invalid from the very beginning.

Both annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage need to undergo the necessary court proceeding in order for the separation to be legalized.  Also, for purposes of remarriage, a court order must be released.  Without a court declaration, any subsequent marriages may be voided and the parties involved may be charged with bigamy.

Will legalizing Divorce in the Philippines make the process of separating from one’s spouse simpler?  Will there still be a need for a court proceeding?

Yes, there will still be a court proceeding in order for the divorce to be declared legal.  The committee that approved the bill refers to this as Summary Judicial Proceeding; this means that the legal processes involved in obtaining a divorce have been simplified and essentially, shortened, as compared to the processes observed in annulment.

What are the grounds for Summary Judicial Proceedings of Divorce?

  1. If the couple have been separated for no less than 5 years;
  2. If one of the spouses has remarried;
  3. If the spouses are legally separated for two years or more by virtue of a judicial decree;
  4. If one of the spouses have been sentenced to prison for six years, even if he or she is granted pardon by the courts;
  5. If one of the spouses has undergone surgery to alter his gender.

The summary proceeding (which short-cuts the entire judicial process in getting a divorce) is only applicable to the above situations.  Any other case that does not fall within the above scenarios shall still go through the longer and stricter court proceeding.

Will divorcing one’s spouse be the cheaper alternative to annulment?

Abot-kaya is how the news described divorce in terms of fees and expenses.  This is because the services of a lawyer is optional in divorce.

How will I know if I should divorce or annul my marriage to my spouse?  Am I free to decide which course to take?

This is a topic that is still being discussed by the technical working group that transmitted the bill.  According to their lead, divorce can be likened to a “merciful interment for irremediably dead marriage”.  Meaning, the marriage must have already disintegrated and that there is nothing left to save anymore.  “Only spouses in totally broken marriages and those void from the start are entitled to a grant of absolute divorce.”

Who decides when a marriage can be considered dead is still unclear.

Are you for or against legalizing divorce in our country?  Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic as we keep a close watch on the divorce bill’s progress in Congress and the Senate.

Thank you for dropping by!

 

References:

www.justia.com

http://news.abs-cbn.com

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Feb 05 (2)

“Ang mahal nang magpakasal ngayon! Kulang ang P200,000 na budget,” says the groom-to-be to his brother who will be standing as the Best Man in his wedding.

“Mas mahal ang annulment.  Ang habang proseso pa.” Quips the brother who, incidentally, just got the court’s decision on the annulment he filed several years back against his now ex-wife.

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a proposed law that will supposedly cut down the costs of a marriage annulment by simply acknowledging the Catholic Church’s decision on the annulment.  Meaning, if your marriage was annulled by the Church, the State will recognize the decision and you no longer need to undergo a judicial process.  Court hearings and attorney’s fees make up the cost of an annulment and by eliminating both, you are able to save hundreds of thousands of hard-earned money – money you will need when you and your spouse go your separate ways.

At the moment, an annulment may cost you between P200,000 to roughly less than half a million, depending on your lawyer’s fees and other expenses during the trial.  That is why it is best that you are fully aware of the entire process of undergoing an annulment before making the decision to dive in and go the whole nine yards.

Today we will share the step-by-step process of a marriage annulment in the Philippines and how it has become such an expensive (not to mention sad and painful) method of ending a relationship.  Take note though that the following should not be taken as legal advice; we researched this information online and are sharing it for information and guidance.

The Annulment Process in the Philippines:

Step 1: READ UP ON THE PROCESS OF ANNULMENT

There are a lot of annulment materials available online that you can freely access.  You may talk to friends and families who went through an annulment; they can give you first-hand information on attorney’s fees, processes, and other information that may not be available online.

Step 2: CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY

When you are 100% sure that you would like to continue with the annulment, you need to choose an attorney who will handle the case for you.  If this is your first time to ever need the services of a lawyer, the following pointers may help:

  • Find a lawyer you can trust.
  • If you should search online, be wary of lawyers and legal websites that promise to get you an annulment in a few months’ time.  There are some who will even tell you-you do not need to appear in court.  These may be signs that the people behind these sites or legal offices are scammers and fixers who are only after the money they could get from you.
  • Consider the cost of hiring a lawyer.  This may vary depending on his experience and track record of handling annulment cases.  Of course, the more popular and successful the lawyer, the higher his charges would be.
  • Narrow your options to 3 or 4 lawyers then schedule your appointments with them before you make your final choice.
  • The lawyer you choose should be able to execute a written contract detailing the terms and conditions of handling your case.  Ask questions and clarify anything that is unclear to you.  It would help to have someone with you who can interpret legal jargons and is used to reading lengthy contracts and agreements.  Remember, you can walk away anytime you feel that your clarifications are not fully satisfied.

STEP 3: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION

Now that you have a lawyer, you will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine your personality and how this translates to the case you are about to file.  Remember, in the Philippines, most annulments are grounded on psychological incapacity, for lack of something worse you can charge your legal spouse.

It is also during the psychological evaluation when you will be asked to narrate your marital history and effectively, draft the basis of the petition and psychological evaluation.

In short, your petition will be drafted in the presence of your lawyer and a psychologist.  So effectively, you will be paying for two professionals right at the onset of the annulment process.

STEP 4: FILING THE PETITION

Your annulment petition will be drafted by your lawyer after the psychologist has released his evaluation.  Your lawyer should send the draft to you for your review and approval before he submits it to court.  You would need to sign the affidavit of non-forum shopping and this will be attached to the petition.  Check that all documents are duly notarized before submission to court.

Once submitted, your case will be assigned to a judge by public raffle.

STEP 5: PRE-TRIAL AND COLLUSION INVESTIGATION

When a judge has been identified to handle your case, it will be scheduled for pre-trial.

An annulment must not be a conspiracy between the spouses involved; meaning, the court needs to prove that only one of the two parties is voluntarily filing the annulment.  The court will need to establish this through a collusion investigation.

Meanwhile, the judge will limit the issues involved in the case and require the parties involved to submit to a mediation.  This is where child support, custody, and visitorial privileges are discussed.

STEP 6: TRIAL

The three witnesses involved in an annulment trial are:

  1. The Petitioner
  2. The Psychologist
  3. A corroborating witness (this could be a friend or relative who knows the couple personally and is aware of the petitioner’s desire to break up the marriage).

The Respondent (or the ex-wife or husband) shall receive a notification of the annulment process.  Respondents seldom appear to contest the petition.

STEP 7: THE DECISION

After all witnesses have taken the stand, the case is submitted for the decision of the court.

There will be a 15-day period for a motion for reconsideration to be filed; this shall begin from the time the decision is rendered and is received by either party.

If the annulment is granted, the Office of the Solicitor General can file a motion for reconsideration and appeal the case to the Court of Appeals.  An annulment is not final until the decision of the Court of Appeals is released.

STEP 8: ANNOTATION WITH THE CIVIL REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

The LCR where the marriage took place has to apply the necessary annotations on the ex-couple’s marriage certificate.  When any of the parties request for a copy of their old marriage certificate, the decision of the court should be clearly printed on the document, as proof that the marriage has been rendered null and void.

Both parties will need the annotated copy of the marriage certificate as proof that they are now free from the bounds of their marriage and may choose to re-marry or, in the case of the ex-wife, revert to her maiden last name in all of her IDs and other documents.

It is a long and painful process, as evidenced by the above narration.  And so it is true that getting an annulment is much more expensive than getting married.

Think first before taking the plunge.

Reference: www.hg.org

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06 - 29 (1)

A common question we receive from readers is how to remarry without going through the process of annulment or divorce.  Of course the obvious answer to this question is there is no other way for a married person to get married again unless his or her spouse dies and makes him a widow/widower.  This answer gave birth to more questions about negligence, abandonment, and presumptive death as grounds for the other party to seek solace in another person’s company.  Questions such as: I haven’t seen or heard from my husband for five years! Can I remarry now? fill our mailboxes almost every day.

Oh love, how could you be so sweet and bitter at the same time?

To help shine some light into this madness, we are sharing the following list of legal requirements for declaration of judicial presumption of death, as lifted from the Public Attorney’s Office website.  It would be safe to assume that the absence of any of these requirements would demerit your case of tagging your spouse as “deceased” and prevent you from marrying again.  If you have further questions, you may get in touch with a lawyer who can explain this to you in detail.

Read on.

“Before a judicial declaration of presumptive death can be obtained, it must be shown that the prior spouse has been absent for four consecutive years and the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the prior spouse was already dead.  Under Article 41 of the Family Code, there are four essential requisites for the declaration of presumptive death:

  1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391 of the Civil Code;
  2. That the present spouse wishes to remarry;
  3. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and,
  4. That the present spouse files a summary of proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee.”

While the requirements may seem lenient, we must be reminded that the court will study the present spouse’s claim closely and will check if he or she exerted effort to locate the missing spouse.  It is up to the court to decide whether these efforts meet the required degree of stringent diligence prescribed by jurisprudence.  Proofs may be gathered to support the present spouse’s claim that he or she really did try to look for the missing spouse; these could be police reports, public announcements about the missing person, and personal testimonies of people involved in the search.

If you are in a similar situation, we hope the above article helped clear some areas you may still be struggling with.  Again, your best recourse is to seek the assistance of a lawyer.

If you have questions about annulment and separation in the Philippines, drop us a line and we will do our best to search for the answer for you.

Reference: www.pao.gov.ph

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06 - 27

After your annulment has been granted by the court, you need to file the court decree at the Civil Registrar’s office.  You need to do this in order for your marriage certificate (from your previous marriage) to be annotated with the details of the approved annulment.  This will serve as proof that you are now free to marry again.

Most of the time, filing the court decree at the City Hall is included in the petitioner’s lawyer’s services; however, in cases when the petitioner is left to process the documents on his own, he or she may find the following information useful.

Read on.

Step 1:

Register the Court Decree of Annulment at the City or Municipal Civil Registrar’s (C/MCR) Office where the court is functioning.  Secure a Certified True Copy of the Court Decree from the same office.

Step 2:

Secure a copy of the Certification of Registration of the court decree from the C/MCR Office.

Step 3:

Secure Certification of Finality from the court which rendered the decree.

Step 4:

Petitioners are usually advised to allow 60 days before requesting for a copy of the annotated Marriage Certificate.  After 60 days, they may secure a Certified True Copy of the Marriage Certificate from the C/MCR Office where the marriage is registered with remarks/annotations based on the Court Decree of Annulment.

Step 5:

If the PSA does not have it on file yet, the Marriage Certificate has to be endorsed (officially transmitted) to PSA by the C/MCR Office where the marriage was registered.  The petitioner may simply visit the C/MCR and advise that his marriage certificate has to be endorsed to the PSA.

Source: www.psa.gov.ph

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06 - 14

Mercy is married to Joel and they have three kids, all minors.  In 2015, they separated, with Joel taking their children with him to the province where they can continue their studies while he tended the family’s farm as his means of income.  Mercy was left in Manila with her parents; she was working as a call center agent at the time of their separation.

In 2016, Joel filed for annulment.  Around the same time the papers were hand-carried by a court personnel to Mercy’s house, she was already dating a new guy from work.  Not long after, Mercy broke the news to her family that she is pregnant.

Her boyfriend, an unmarried man, is willing to acknowledge Mercy’s baby.  Their plan is to get married as soon as Mercy’s previous marriage is officially annulled; they will have their baby legitimized after they get married.

Will Mercy and Joel’s plans succeed?  Will this not cause problems or confusion on the child’s birth right?  Can the child use his biological father’s last name while his mother is still married to her previous husband?

According to the Family Code, a child born to a married woman is considered legitimate, even if the mother declares against its legitimacy, or even if she has been sentenced as an adulteress (Article 164 and Article 167).

Given these insights, Mercy’s boyfriend is not legally entitled to acknowledge the child because Mercy is still married to Joel (pending decision of filed annulment case).  Moreover, letting the child use Mercy’s boyfriend’s last name will cause further confusion in the child’s legitimacy and birth right.  To make matters worse, Mercy’s child is not qualified to be “legitimized due to subsequent marriage” because of the existence of her marriage with Joel at the time of the child’s birth.

Only if Joel, being Mercy’s legal husband at the time of the child’s birth, disputes the child’s legitimacy, will Mercy be able to declare the child as ‘illegitimate’; otherwise, her child remains ‘legitimate’ and registered as Joel’s child.

What are the provisions for remarrying after an annulment has been approved?

It would have been best for Mercy to have waited until the annulment was approved before she and her boyfriend decided to have a child.  Technically, there is even a prescriptive period of 300 days after the annulment has been handed down, before Mercy bears another child, if only to avoid any controversy on her child’s legitimacy.

Below are the specific articles from the Family Code that will help us understand this provision better:

Article 168.  If the marriage is terminated and the mother contracted another marriage within 300 days after such termination of the former marriage, these rules shall govern in the absence of proof to the contrary:

(1) A child born BEFORE 180 days after the solemnization of the subsequent marriage is considered to have been conceived during the former marriage, provided it be born within 300 hundred days after the termination of the former marriage;

(2) A child born AFTER 180 days following the celebration of the subsequent marriage is considered to have been conceived during such marriage, even though it be born within the 300 days after the termination of the former marriage.

It is also good to note that getting married immediately after the issuance of the decree of annulment may be considered a crime of premature marriage; this is punishable under Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code.

Sources:

www.gov.ph

http://www.manilatimes.net

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05 - 24

Divorce is not honored nor practiced in the Philippines.  The only option for Filipino couples to legally separate and regain their freedom to marry another person is to get their marriage annulled.  Annulment processes are long and expensive, often ugly and traumatic especially when children are involved.  Unlike divorce where the couple need only to agree to end a legally valid marriage, annulment proceeding is done to prove that the marriage never existed at all.  And to do that, the reasons for filing an annulment case must be compelling enough to destroy the integrity of the erring couple’s union.

Something, or someone’s, gotta give.

There are two types of annulment in the Philippines:

  1. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage where the marriage is believed to be null and void from the beginning, and
  2. Annulment of Marriage is filed for valid marriages (marriage is considered valid until voided).

In case you are thinking of filing an annulment, or are just plain curious how such cases are built, this article is for you.

Valid grounds for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, pursuant to the Family Code of the Philippines:

  1. Either party is below 18 years of age, even with the consent of parents or guardians.
  2. Marriage was solemnized by a person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless it was contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority ot do so.
  3. Marriage was solemnized without license, except those allowed under the law.
  4. Bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under Article 41.
  5. Marriage was contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other.
  6. Subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.
  7. Either party was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of the marriage.
  8. Incestuous marriages.
  9. Marriages which are void from the beginning for reasons of public policy.

Grounds for filing a petition for annulment of marriage:

  1. Either party was 18 years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of parents, guardian, or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, he/she freely cohabited with the other party;
  2. Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
  3. Consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other;
  4. The consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other;
  5. Either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or
  6. Either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Other important reminders when filing a petition for annulment:

  • You may only file a petition to nullify or annul your marriage if any of the above-mentioned grounds actually exist in your marriage.
  • Being separated from your husband or wife is not grounds for annulment, not even if you have ceased communicating with each other for considerable length of time.
  • Infidelity is not grounds for annulment in the Philippines.
  • The petition must be filed before the Regional Trial Court where the petitioner or the respondent resides.
  • Upon granting of annulment petition, the absolute community of property or conjugal partnership established between the spouses during the marriage shall be dissolved and liquidated.
  • Any property acquired by either party after the annulment has been granted shall be an individual property of the party who purchased it.
  • And lastly, the entire annulment procedure is not only physically, emotionally, and psychologically taxing, it can also place a dent in your finances.

We hope you found these information helpful.  You can shoot us your questions about marriages and separations and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph

http://www.manilatimes.net

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04 - 03

When a married couple separates, whether on their own terms or as prescribed by an annulment proceeding, child custody and support become a fundamental issue between the parties.  With whom should the children stay?  How often can their father / mother see them?  How will their basic needs be met?

In the Philippines, custody of children under seven years old is automatically granted to the mother as mandated by Article 213 of the Family Code.  This is applicable whether the child’s birthright is legitimate or illegitimate.  In the same manner, the father is expected to continue providing the needs of his children and not leave the mother to fend for the family on her own.

This arrangement is easier said than done as most post-annulment / separation issues stem from the fact that fathers fail to consistently provide for their children.  Each has his own reason for not being able to live up to what is expected of him (as the provider); others admit that they chose to discontinue financially supporting their children through the estranged wife because of trust issues.

In the midst of these marital (and extra-marital) issues are the children and their escalating living necessities.  This blog receives a lot of questions about child support and legal actions against fathers who fail to provide for their children.  We all have that one friend who is perpetually asking about means to compel her ex-husband to give and give more as the children’s basic needs rapidly become anything but basic.

We ran a research on child support, as dictated by Philippine laws, in an attempt to shed light in this touchy issue.  We hope these information help put your questions on child support to rest, or at least lead you towards the right decisions in upholding the rights of your children.

How much should a father give as financial support to his children?

According to the Family Code (Articles 194, 201, and 202):

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.

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.

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.

According to the Family Code:

  • The amount of support shall be based on the children’s needs and the father’s capacity to provide (earn).
  • The father is obligated to support his children’s education even after they have reached the age of emancipation.

Can I demand for support from my child’s father even if he is married to another woman (and my child, effectively, is illegitimate)?

Article 195 of the Family Code provides that both legitimate and illegitimate children have the right to receive financial support from their parents.  However, an illegitimate child’s right to support shall only arise if he was duly recognized by his father.

An illegitimate child may prove that he is recognized by his biological father through the following:

  1. Record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment – with the father accomplishing the Affidavit of Acknowledgment / Admission of Paternity found at the back of his birth certificate.
  2. An admission of illegitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.

If the father refuses to recognize the child, the mother may seek to the court’s assistance by filing a Petition for Compulsory Recognition and Support.  This will entail hearings and other court proceedings and the mother must be prepared to fight it out in public.

If I win the petition, can I demand the father of my child to reimburse the expenses I incurred in the years that he did not provide for my child?

No; the father’s obligation to financially support the child begins from the date of judicial demand, or once the Petition for Compulsory Recognition and Support is approved by the court.

Do I have the right to demand for financial support from my ex-husband even if he is jobless?

In cases when the children’s father is jobless and has no means of income, financial support may be derived from the separate properties.  If the father does not have a separate property to liquidate, the funds may be taken from his and the children’s mother’s conjugal properties.  It shall be treated as an advance and will be deducted from the ex-husband’s share of the estate when it is liquidated.

Can I sue my ex-husband if he continues to ignore his parental responsibilities?

Filing a case in court to compel the children’s father to continue his obligation to provide for the children should be the last resort.  Yes, a mother can seek the court’s assistance in demanding for child support.  A father’s failure to comply with his obligation despite repeated reminders is a violation of RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, or RA 9262 – Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004) and is a criminal offense.

Sources:

www.gov.ph

http://jlp-law.com

http://www.manilatimes.net

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Parents who have children born before they were married can have their children legitimized by executing an Affidavit of Legitimation.  This must be submitted to the Office of the Civil Registrar of the child’s birthplace.  Court decrees, on the other hand, are legal instruments concerning the status of a person such as Admission of Paternity, Legitimation, Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF), and the like.

Registration of court decrees as well as requests for CTCs of annulment, adoption, correction of entry, change of name, presumptive death, and the like are handled at Counter 7 of the Quezon City Hall.  On the other hand, Court Decrees with finality and annotation as well as Legitimation papers must be submitted to Counter 15.

The following are the requirements when filing for Legitimation at the Quezon City Hall as well as the fees to be paid for other cases such as annulment of marriage, adoption, etc.

Requirements for Legitimation:

  1. Joint Affidavit of Legitimation signed by both parents.
  2. Certified True Copy of Marriage Contract
  3. Certified True Copy of Birth Certificate
  4. Admission of Paternity/Acknowledgment of Father
  5. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) from NSO.

Other requirements will be on a case-to-case basis.  Allow two to four working days as processing time; you will be given a claim stub for your filed request.

Registration Fees:

  1. Annulment of marriage – PHP 500.00
  2. Correction of entry or change of name – PHP 400.00
  3. Per registration of supplementary reports or documents as additional data – PHP 100.00
  4. Legalization of Aliens – PHP 500.00
  5. Local Adoption – PHP 1,000.00
  6. Legitimation – PHP 400.00
  7. Foundling – PHP 500.00
  8. Naturalization – PHP 1,000.00
  9. Foreign Adoption – PHP 1,000.00
  10. Repatriation – PHP 1,000.00
  11. Presumptive Death – PHP 1,000.00
  12. Per registration of other documents – PHP 300.00

Source: http://quezoncity.gov.ph/index.php/qc-services/requirements-a-procedures/261-civilregguide

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