The Philippines has welcomed the contemporary times with a new norm – illegitimacy. Especially in the poor areas where people can’t afford the expenses associated with weddings, most children are born illegitimate.
The social stigma is a serious concern, but on top of that there is the problem of their rights being underrated, or in the worst cases, unknown to the parties involved.
Philippines: Rights of Illegitimate Children
Love and support for children born out-of-wedlock is scarce. But, it pays to know the other rights that even they are allowed in the Philippines.
Here are some of them:
It entitles illegitimate children to their father’s surname.
An amendment to the Family Code, known as the “Revilla Code,” says that illegitimate children are allowed to use their father’s surname under the following conditions:
- Fathers with illegitimate children can expressly recognize their illegitimate children by allowing their names in the child’s record of birth.
- Another option is to admit their filiation, which can be done by the father in either a public (notarized) document or a private handwritten instrument.
- The recognition of natural children, or children of unwed mother, may be brought only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in special cases.
Illegitimate children are entitled to support.
Single parents can demand legal, financial support for their illegitimate children according to the provisions of the Family Code. The law says that children whose parents are unmarried, can receive child support until the age of maturity in the Philippines, which is 18.
Illegitimate children are entitled to receive, in a proper case, hereditary portions from their father.
An illegitimate child is entitled to a certain portion of his father’s estate, under certain conditions. However, an illegitimate child can only inherit a portion of his father’s estate equivalent to half of that of the inheritance of a legitimate child.
Fathers who recognized their children are allowed visitorial rights, regardless of parental authority.
The parental authority of an illegitimate child is always with the mother until they reach 18, but the father who recognized his illegitimate child may be entitled to visitorial rights, to enable him to enjoy the company of the child, give him love, and share in his rearing and development.
A child born out of wedlock who was not recognized by his father can legally seek recognition.
According to the Philippine Family Code, an illegitimate child may file a petition to establish his filiation with his father. Using pieces of evidence such as photos, letters and testimonies of people, he can prove that the father has recognized him as his biological child. He may also resort to DNA testing to prove his filiation.
Illegitimacy is a serious social problem. Although some may say that they don’t need a man, the fact is, all children need a father. It’s not just for financial support, but for the child’s balanced personality development.