“I am not a lawyer, but I know well enough to tell you that your son is entitled to child support”, this is what I told King, the sister of our housekeeper. King has a six year old son from her ex-boyfriend. When their child was barely a year old, the man left and was only heard from recently. Before today, King did not even know she has the right to ask for child support. She thought that only “legitimate” children have that “right”. Here are some of the questions she asked me, as well as my answers.
1. My son is not using his father’s last name, can I ask for child support?
Answer: Yes, your son should be receiving child support from his father, as long as you can prove that he really is the father of your son.
1. I asked him to leave my parent’s house, can I still ask for child support?
Answer: It doesn’t matter who left who and who asked who to leave, this is not between you and your ex, but rather about your child.
1. What if he doesn’t have a job?
Answer: It is the father’s legal responsibility to support his child, so whether or not he has a job, he should give you some financial assistance. Of course, it will be hard for him, but he has to find a source of income because the responsibility doesn’t fall only on your shoulders.
1. How much am I entitled to?
Answer: You are entitled to nothing because you are not married to the father of your child. However, if the two of you lived under the “common law marriage”, that is different. According to a lawyer I consulted, the assets should be divided in half much like in legal marriages. But once again, I stress that I am not a lawyer and I am only relaying information that was given to me during a consultation.
1. How much is my child entitled to?
Answer: Again, according to the lawyer, it depends on 3 factors. 1) How much the father earns, 2) the lifestyle the child has been accustomed to and 3) estimated monthly expenses of the child; this includes board, lodging, food, education, health care, child care (nannies, day care), extra curricular activities etc.
1. Do I have to sue my ex for child support?
Answer: It is best for the two parties to come to an agreement. But as in any agreement, there should be a contract. A legal document stating what the two parties have agreed on. A letter of support will suffice in some cases.
1. He said he doesn’t have to give because there is no law for that.
Answer: There is such a thing as Republic Act 9262. Under Section 5, the Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children are clearly defined. Under letter E, number 2 it says “Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family, or deliberately providing the woman’s children insufficient financial support”.
1. Will he go to jail if I sue him?
Answer: Again the lawyer I consulted said that if the two parties do not come to an agreement; and the judge rules on the case, there is a big possibility that the father will go to jail. It’s also stated under Republic Act 9262 Section 6, acts falling under Section 5(e) are punishable by Prision Correctional (you can check here for the table of penalties under the Department of Justice).
I took the liberty of translating parts of our conversation in English, as we were conversing in our local tongue (Tagalog). If you have other questions, please feel free to email me and I will try to answer them. If I can’t, I will ask my lawyer so that I can help other single moms like me. Again, I must reiterate that it is always best for you to consult a lawyer.