Illegitimate children and separation agreements – Katrina Legarda


Posted at Feb 18 2009 12:50 AM | Updated as of Feb 18 2009 08:50 AM

I received quite a few e-mails asking about illegitimate children. I have realized, during my “career” as columnist and commentator on Family Law, that there are millions of illegitimate children in this country.

I do not know why our sons believe the women who assure them they are “safe”. There are also so many women who think that they can keep their boyfriend, or get their boyfriend to marry them, if they fall pregnant. Worse, so many women have affairs with married men. Why? Apart from the sex, what do you get out of that? Good God. Please, wear a condom, take the pill, do not have sex at all…. Unless you really, really, really want to have a child.

The only one who suffers the pregnancy is the woman; the child suffers after she is born. And it is very difficult, and expensive, to get support from the biological father.

If you are dating or are living with a woman who already has a child, you have no right to custody of the child nor do you have any parental authority over that child, unless you marry the girl and you adopt the child. The consent, however, of the biological father of the child must be obtained. That, I am afraid, is what the law says. However, if the child’s biological father has not acknowledged the child, then it is likely that the court will allow adoption without the consent. I actually have not come across such a case yet, though I am sure other lawyers have handled such cases.

You, who wrote me requesting complete anonymity, should think about your future with your girlfriend. If you are sure you want to be with her for the rest of your life, marry her so you can adopt the child. Otherwise, please move on and out of their lives.

This other letter asks about the rights of an illegitimate child:

I have a daughter born out of wedlock. She is turning 10 yrs old. Her father is a lawyer. My question is, Does my daughter has the right to claim or enjoy for whatever is due to her which are also due and can be enjoyed by his father's legitimate children?. thanking u in advance.

The answer is YES your child has the right to support and to inheritance, BUT, you must make sure that her father has acknowledged her. He must have signed her birth certificate, or he has written you a letter in his own handwriting that he recognized her to be his child, or some other proof that he knows the child to be his. You have to ensure this recognition and acknowledgement while the father of the child is still alive ha. Otherwise, your child will not be entitled to one cent.

I suggest you go and see a lawyer (preferably one who graduated from a law school different from that of your paramour) and ask what you should do. You will have to spend money to ensure the rights of your child are protected.

I also received an email regarding separation agreements. There is no such thing as a “separation agreement.”

The only agreement allowed once you are married is an agreement that seeks to dissolve your property regime (because, today, when you marry, you are under an absolute community of property, unless you have a pre-nup), and to decide on custody, support, and visitation of the children. This agreement MUST BE APPROVED BY A COURT. So, you can now answer your own question, she who wrote the following letter:

I just want to ask something regarding separation agreement. Since I have a copy of my separation agreement for my husband, kailangan pa po ba ang pirma ng attorney? since pareho nman nmin gus2 na magkahiwalay na kmi? At pede po ba na parents nlang nmin ang witnessed sa pag pirma sa separtion agreement ? kc wla nman po kaming pera pra kumukha ng attorney.

You cannot agree to separate. You need to go to court. Period. Go to the Public Attorney’s Office, or PAO, to help you in this case.

Till next time then.

Please keep sending your letters in through [email protected]