The Non-relation of Child Support and Visitation

Most custodial and non-custodial parents make the mistake of using child support and visitation as their carrot-and-stick policy. When a non-custodial parent(NCP) is unable to have child access, that parent usually thinks it is alright to default in the payment of child support as a consequence of the refusal to allow visitation.

On the other hand, the custodial parent who finds it difficult to obtain regular child support feels that it is her right to refuse access to the child because of the lack of payment. Parents who engage in such manipulative measures fail to see that in refusing visitation or in withholding child support, it is not the other parent that is being punished, but the innocent child who is thrust into the warpath of both parents.

Legally, the right to visitation and the duty to pay child support are distinct and separate. This means only one thing: if the other parent refuses visitation, your recourse is not to suspend child support payment, but to enforce your visitation order or agreement in court via a contempt motion. Conversely, a mother who has not been regularly receiving the child support payment from the errant parent cannot legally prevent the deadbeat dad from seeing his child by that reason alone. Child support payment is not a rental fee for the time spent with the child. Visitation is the right of the child to bond with the other parent, and it has nothing to do with child support. The appropriate remedy of the mother is to allow access to the child, but to go back to court for the violation of the support agreement.

32 thoughts on “The Non-relation of Child Support and Visitation

  1. kathya

    Hi good day,
    I am a single mom of my 1 son,but i am not married to the father of my son. But we have an agreement signed in the court that he will give a 10,000 monthly child support of my son,By the way he is Seaman. But the father of son fails to give a monthly child support when he is not on-board his reason that he don’t have salary.Is this a valid reason for him that is why he fails to give a child support?the age of my son is 4 yrs old and he is now attending in school,what if the father of my son will not give the exact amount or he fails again not to give what should i do to them?hoping your reply thank you!!!

    1. Atty. Post author

      Kathya:
      Your order for support can be enforced in court if the father refuses to comply with his obligation. Generally, support is based on the financial capacity of the giver ( in this case, the father) and the needs of the recipient (your child). If he provides less than what has been agreed upon, you can still go after the unpaid amount in court to collect what is known as support in arrears. I suggest though that you work out a temporary amount while he is still jobless, out of court to avoid legal expenses and of course, to keep the peace.

      I hope this helps.

  2. kathya

    Thank you atty for the advices, for now he give with me a full amount of a support to my so bec he is now on-board. Atty, is there a possibility that he file with me for the decrease for the child support?Because i demand for that 10,000 pesos to him he does not have a choice for it but to signed and agree because he has already warrant we signed for that agreement in court. After that we are okay,but after how many months fast he said to me that we will decrease the amount he give to me because our son is still 4 and the expenses not really big,but he is now going to school . Our relation for now for that father of my son is not okay,anyway he is going to married to other girl now,and they don’t have even the time to visit to my baby?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Kathya: Yes, it is possible for him to go back to court and ask for a reduction of the monthly support. But the reduction is not automatically granted; the court will normally require the mother to comment on his motion where you are allowed to show proof of your child’s expenses. I suggest that you keep records of your monthly expenses such as receipts and utility bills in case he goes back to court. Try not to worry, though, because going to court is expensive. He’ll need to hire a lawyer and pay for the lawyer to appear in the hearings, which will cost much more than the 10K monthly allowance. Impractical!

  3. tijae

    good afternoon atty..we are not married by the father of my son. he is irresponsible he did not give support for his son..but he had work as a promo. what will i do?.do i have to go our barangay official to have agreement for the support?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Tijae: You may need to get a lawyer to send the father a demand letter and later on file the appropriate petition for support in court, if he still fails to provide support. Please bear in mind also that BOTH parents have the duty to support the child, in an amount proportionate to the means or financial capacity of the giver.

  4. Maan

    good morning atty. I’m currently pregnant right now. i’m not in good terms with the father of my unborn child & we’re not married. i just want to now what is the right of my unborn child. can i demand financial support and for the father to visit his child. i want to legalized everything and exert all options for my unborn child. please help me.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Maan: Once your child is born, he or she will be entitled to support from the father. Since the child is illegitimate, you will exercise sole parental authority. If the father acknowledges the child in a notarized document or on the back portion of the child’s birth certificate, he may later on ask and be entitled to reasonable visitation. If you are not in good terms with the father, I don’t suggest letting the child use the father’s surname but let the father acknowledge the child in a separate document (signed and notarized but not appearing at the back of the birth certificate). When the child is of age (18 and above), you may let the child decide for himself or herself whether to use the father’s surname under RA 9255. I hope this helps.

  5. Vincent

    Me and the mother of my child are not married. We are separated but i’m giving support in terms of ‘material’ things (i.e. groceries, food etc.) not financial. My son is 2 years old. I’m only giving what i believed what is suffice to my child yet she is still demanding me to give more. She is demanding to process some legal document to settle my son’s child support. What should i do? do i have also a right to not cooperate since i am also giving support to my child?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Vincent: While you are right in providing groceries and food for your child, his needs change and grow as he becomes older. Support includes everything that a child needs including food, dwelling, medical attention, education, transportation, child care, etc. I suggest that you ask the mother to list down the child’s monthly regular expenses for you to know what his other expenses are, beyond the groceries and food. Providing “some” support is not a complete defense against a support case in court as the judge will consider what the child’s needs are in determining sufficiency of support. I hope this helps.

  6. Lyza Margarette

    Marge: Good pm Atty. My son’s 3 years old now and i was not married to his father although he carries his surname. My kids dad does some time financially provide although its not even half of the expenses for his son. And lately, we’ve been fighting over his visitation. We don’t have any legal agreement/document stating a fixed schedule when he could visit his kid. Do i have a say as to when and what time can he see his child? Do i need to make this legal? Is there any law stating visitation rights of the father for a illegitimate child?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Marge: The father of an illegitimate child has reasonable visitation rights. It is best to negotiate the terms of a visitation agreement out of court to avoid legal expenses but if you can’t seem to agree on some common terms, then I suggest that you stop communicating for now and let your respective lawyers negotiate in the meantime. Yes, you have a say, but try to be as reasonable as you can be. I know it can be hard since the father does not seem to provide for the child’s needs. You may also use the negotiations to include support provisions to save time and expense. I hope this helps.

  7. rockista

    Good day atty,i have one son in my xgf,i gave her everymonth support to my son,but my pgkataon na yun d2 aku sa pinas naubosan na aku budget kasi wla nman aku sweldo pag hindi aku nkasakay ng barko,pgonboard nman aku yon sustinto binigay ku ng insakto sa kanya.tapos ngayon hndi pa nga aku nkababa my dumating sa bahay nmin na sopina at yong nkaligay yon amount na hndi aku nkabigay sa kanya at saka bayad sa school sa anak ko.anu po ba ang dapat kung gawin atty?at saka hindi po ba sapat yon binigay ko everymnth para ma include yon sa school kasi nursery palang yong anak ko tapos 9k po yong ibinigay ko kanya every month.hope maliwanagan nyo po ako.salamat po ng marami

    1. Atty. Post author

      Rockista: Ordinarily, the monthly child support (allowance) does not include the child’s tuition fees unless it is stated in your support agreement or in the breakdown of expenses previously given by the child’s mother. Also, to enlighten you about your child’s tuition fees, I suggest that you ask the mother to show you the school’s tuition notice. Nursery schools can be expensive, sometimes, even more expensive the the traditional prep schools. If you have already received a summons or court order requiring you to appear in court for the case of child support, your best step is to refer this to a lawyer who can represent you, file the appropriate documents in court and negotiate the terms of financial support for you. Bear in mind, however, that once a support agreement is approved in court, you will have to comply with its terms religiously so as to avoid other court orders relating to the payment of child support. I hope this helps.

      1. rockista

        Paano po yun atty,nka include na sa amin aggreement sa school ng bata,but nghihngi pa cya sa akin,pwd po ba yun aku po mgdecide kung saan na school ku paaralin yun anak ko kasi ako naman ang ngbabayad,paano kasi pinaaral sa mamahalin paaralan paano yun if dumating ang araw wla na ako maibigay hndi nman natin alam ang panhon.Pwd po ba din sa pgbalik ko na ng pinas e procces or kailangan ko na talaga ng lawyer ngayon as my representative kahit wla pa ako sa pinas.

      2. Atty. Post author

        Rockista: Ordinarily, decisions about the child’s schooling will have to be a joint one, which is why positive and open communication is very important in situations such as yours, for the sake of the child. If, as you say, the agreement already includes a specific amount for the school needs, the child’s mother can still go to court to amend the terms of the support agreement if she can prove that the child’s needs are much higher than what was contemplated in the previous agreement. Support orders are never final. The court can increase the amount depending on the needs of the child and your financial capacity.

        About the support case, I suggest that you have someone from your family go to the court where it is pending to see if there really is an order or summons for you to appear in a case. If none, then I assume that what you received was a demand letter from the child’s lawyer. If there is no pending case to attend in court, then you can call the child’s mother and ask her to discuss the amount of support out of court, or through lawyers. If there is a pending case and you have not made an appearance yet in court, then you may have to attend to it first. If it is an old case where you already appeared, your lawyer can attend to it while you are away.

  8. Maan

    Maan: Good afternoon Atty. It’s me again. I just want to seek advice about my current situation. As I’ve made known in my last e-mail, I’m pregnant & as of the moment is not in good terms nor communicating w/ my unborn child’s father. But once my son is born I want to ask monthly financial support & also educational support. he & even his family knows about our child & we even considered getting married before I decided not to continue w/ it because of some personal conflicting issues w/ him. He even use to accompany me to my OB’s check-up until my 7th month. But as of now I don’t have any written document sign by him that could prove he’s the father of my child. Can i still put his name in my son’s birth certificate even if I don’t have any written document that he’s acknowledging our child. I want to fight for my baby’s right. What is the best option for me? What should I do Atty?

    Thank you & God bless….

    1. Atty. Post author

      Maan: Your baby’s father must sign the back portion of the birth certificate acknowledging paternity in order for you to put his name in the birth certificate. If the father does not sign the birth certificate, he may still acknowledge your child in the future through a sworn document (Affidavit of Paternity) or a private handwritten document signed by him. I suggest that you take it easy for now. In many cases, the strained communications can be temporary and will not last long once the child is born. But you will have to adopt a different attitude and tone of voice when you communicate with him again. Being antagonistic won’t help your child’s situation. Sometimes, fighting for our children’s rights means picking our battles and not using up all our energies on the small stuff. It can also mean compromising even if we have to swallow our pride — for the sake of the children. I hope this helps.

  9. Maan

    Maan: Good morning Atty. What if i failed to secure any document that his acknowledging our child. What will be the option for me then? One more thing, I don’t have financial income as of the moment because i need to quit my job because of my sensitive pregnancy. Does PAO provide service for child support cases?

    Again thank you…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Maan: PAO may help you with filing child support but you may have to wait first until after the baby is born to claim for child support. If he will not acknowledge your child, you may have to file a child support case after the baby is born and wait for him to deny that the child is his. You may then ask the court to issue an order for him to take a paternity test to settle the issue and proceed from there.

  10. Marhian

    Maan: Atty. thank you for your help & queries. I just want to ask, how long does child support cases goes?

    Again, God speed….

    1. Atty. Post author

      Marhian: Child support cases can take a few months to conclude, depending on the cooperation of the parties; however, you can apply for support “pendente lite” or while the case is pending. The court may grant support pendente lite after a few hearings.

  11. Maan

    Maan: Hello Atty! I just want to know more about the solo parent act. I’m not married w/ the father of my unborn child & were not in good terms as of now. After giving birth I would ask (or file a case) for child support. If i do this would I still be qualified as a solo parent? What are the benefits of being registered as a solo parent? Has Bill No. 1439 or the “Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2010″ filed by Sen.Loren Legarda for additional Support & Benefits for single parent already been approved?
    Again, hope for your assistance.
    Thank you very much & God bless…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Maan: You may ask for child support and still qualify as a solo parent under the law. The law covers: “Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear his/her child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;” and does not disqualify the unmarried parent whose child is being financially supported.

  12. bianca

    good day! i just want to ask about the child support… i do have a 2 year old son who is now turning 3 and my son carries the surname of ex…my ex is working abroad, we are not married but he signed and acknowledged my child by signing the back of the birth certificate..he is earning 750$ to 800$ a month but he just give 6k pesos a month for my baby , and 6k is not really enough…nxt june my baby will be attending to school , is it possible to ask more of financial support?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Bianca: Try writing the child’s father about it and explain where your child’s monthly support is spent right now. I suggest that you prepare a breakdown of specific expenses in the past 2 months, and offer to show receipts. Indicate how much your child will need when he starts going to school. You can already ask the prospective school for an estimated amount of their tuition costs, uniform etc. Try to negotiate for an increased amount out of court first. Only when he refuses to give an additional amount should you consider going to court for it. I hope this helps.

  13. divinejurijah

    hi Pretty Atty…i had a daughter with my ex-boyfriend.she’s just turning 6 months old this month…now her father is living in with his girlfriend(she’s the third party involved in our relationship that’s why i broke up w/my ex.she was aware that we had a child).her father got a new mobile #. then i ask him,can i get your # so that i can text or message you in case of emergency or if i need you to buy something for our child…he did not gave me his #. just because his girlfriend told him not to.even though,i beg and explain to him that we need to communicate for our child…here’s another situation, ‘m asking her father to visit and take good care of our child even just for 1 day ’cause i need to attend an important event.he said,okey i will but i need to bring her(our baby) in our place(w/his GF).i refused of course.he told me again my girlfriend won’t allow me stay in your house.is there’s like certain hours or days should the father spend/stay w/our child?can i accompany our child specially if his father going to bring her out?i want to take some legal action about this matter.please help about the rights and support should i demand from her father…thanks in advance…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Divinejurijah: Due to the young age of the child, I suggest that you ask instead that the child’s father pay for a yaya to watch your child while you are away instead of making him babysit and take your child away from your home. If this is not possible, then you may have to ask a close relative to help you take care of your child considering that you are not married nor living together with the child’s father. You can ask him to help but you can’t insist that he stay in your place if he does not want to. If he wants to visit your child, you can have a close relative or yaya accompany the child while he takes her out of your home. Other than that, you may have to insist on supervised visits in your home only for the first few years until your daughter is old enough to leave the house without you.

      You cannot also insist on getting his mobile number although I suggest that you update yourself regularly as to his current home and work address and sources of income in case you need to file a petition for child support. I hope this helps.

  14. clarkie

    is there a percentage of my salary of how much shall i give for my child or specific amount to be given monthly

    1. Atty. Post author

      Clarkie,
      There is no specific percentage but the monthly child support will depend on your child’s needs and your financial capacity. It can increase as the child grows older.

  15. danz

    Hi atty! i am married to the father of my child but we are already separated though not legally. as of the moment he is unemployed and is stil in college. his parents are the ones who are providing for the sake of their son’s share. but there seems to be a problem with the consistency of their schedule in providing for the child. i want to know if i have any right to demand for child support

    1. Atty. Post author

      Danz: Your child is entitled to support from his father. If the problem lies in the schedule of the release of the child’s financial support, then I suggest that you first inquire politely if there are ways to obtain it much earlier to meet your child’s expenses which usually fall due in the first few days of the month. You may have to show some patience here because your husband is not yet financially capable of providing for your needs. Even if you sue him, you may end up spending more on legal fees than what you can collect from him. I hope this helps.

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