When Can I File for Child Support?

Question (from H. on Child Support pending Annulment)

“Good day to you,I am so glad to bump into your site.

My husband has been wanting to have our marriage be annuled. I told him that I cannot file the annulment yet because I pay for my daugther’s tuition fee.

He have my son in which he uses to force me in filing the annulment by not allowing to see my boy evrytime her gf pressures him to separate me legally.

I left our home alone more than a year ago and when summer came last year my eldest stayed with me and did not return to his father because she felt that she is being used as a shock absorber of her father’s agony along with my inlaws meddling and badmouthing against me.

My husband said that he can no longer wait of when am I filing the annulment because he is too scared that her gf would leave him again. He told me last night that he made a sworn statement regarding his complaint against me and that will lead to annulment.

We both want to be annuled but there are two reason that I couldn’t do it. First,I am not financially and emotionally prepared. Second if ever I will have the child custody he might not support them adequately and might intentionally forget his duty if he is not in the mood.
He is a school bus operator and earns around P40thou but I know that he only declared a VERY SMALL amount of income comparing to how much he really earns.

He said that he is a changed man and should give him a chance in believing that he will not run away from his obligation but I told him it should be in writing or I should take it into court. My problem is, what if the mediator or the court calculate of what is declared in his ITR,where I know that is not the real and actual amount?

He actually agreed that I could file a civil case for support before the annulment and he will be giving more than what is being stated. I told him if he do not give sufficient amount I will put him in trouble(like reporting him for tax evasion). He promised that he will never neglect his children but he had a plan of having 2 more children to his “would be wife”, I believe one day he will complain and would not give what is right for MY children because of having too much obligation.

Yes,I know he is galant when he have money and when he is in the right mood. I’d like to add that he is very temperamental,a habitual liar and inconsistent person. Somehow,he brings the kids to the mall and buys them whatever they want in which I cannot afford to do so. I want us to be civil with each other but I don’t want to end up begging for his help. What shall i do?

Can I file annulment then ask for temporary support(but he have my son)OR take my son first and ask for child support then file an annulment?  

I am tired of crying evrytime he uses my son to pressure me. My son is even jealous of his sister asking why did I leave him and why can’t I take him too.  I couldn’t explain him that his father will not support them ifever I take him with me.  There are time my husband would say I could both have the kids and support them and there are time that he will not support them and just hide from his obligation.   I am so emotionally battered with this problem.I am so glad to leave that psycho but there are children involve.

Please Ma’am tell me what to do.
Thank you for your time and God bless you for sharing us your wisdom.” 

LegalCounseling says:

Hello, H*****.
Due to the lengthy nature of your inquiry, I would like to reply directly
to your mail instead of posting it on the website although I may decide to
publish relevant portions of this reply to the site later.

1.  On who should file: your husband can file the petition for nullity
(annulment) if he is the one who wishes for it.  He can cite his own
psychological incapacity (assuming that this is his ground for filing) or his own failure to comply with the essential marital
obligations and hire a specialist (psychologist or psychiatrist) to attest
to this in court. You may also file the petition yourself and cite his
psychological incapacity but you will bear most of the expenses of litigation.

2.  On child custody:  the general rule is that children below the age of
7 are best cared for by the mother unless your husband cites specific and
compelling reasons to take them away from you.  And if your children have
been living with you since the separation, maintaining the status quo (or keeping the existing arrangement) may be best for their emotional health and often increases your chances of obtaining full or joint custody later.

3.  On child support:  Even without the annulment petition, you can ask the court to issue an order directing your husband to support your children because the obligation to provide support for minor children exists regardless of the status of your
marriage.

4.    The decision to have custody of your son is a personal one and should
not be used as a support strategy.  If your son is better off staying with
his father, then maybe agreeing on a set visitation schedule for you to
have access to your son is the best arrangement. Otherwise, do insist on
having your son live with you if it is for his own benefit. The support
issue will follow whatever decision you make on this matter. I hope that this helps.

This site’s legal disclaimer applies and the author’s comments are not intended to substitute the advice of your own counsel.  Nothing in this reply also constitutes an attorney-client relationship between you and the author.

If you have a legal question on any of the topics discussed in this blog, write to us using the contact form on this page. Please don’t forget to include your email address for faster reply.

8 thoughts on “When Can I File for Child Support?

  1. ramon

    I filed an annulment for marriage last October 25, 2010 and the said case is still pending and ongoing. Suddenly my ex-wife is demanding for “child support of my 3 children. My children are of age 24, 23 and the youngest is 17 yrs old. My question is “do i still need to support my 1st and 2nd children? And how much child support can i give to them if im only earning 15,000 pesos monthly? Thanks

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ramon:
      Support generally ends when the child reaches the age of majority or 18 years old except when the child is still studying, in which case, you will still have to provide for him/her. The amount of support due will depend on the resources (financial capacity) of the giver and the needs of the recipient. Moreover, both parents share the obligation to support the children so you may negotiate terms of a support agreement where the mother shares in it as well.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Gary

    I have a girlfriend who’s been separated from her husband for a couple of year now. Though they have not been legally separated, they just had an agreement on the support for their child. Just late last year, her husband started to work abroad and the child support started to came late on the agreed monthly due date. With this, what should my girlfriend do in order to legalize the child support? What are the legalities? I do not want to intervene as much as i wanted to but I just want to help her with her possible rights. We are looking for an Annulment but we do not have the financial capacity. My knowledge with this circumstances is not that wide that is why I’m seeking for a piece of advise from you guys.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Gary: She can have a lawyer send him a demand letter reminding him to pay child support. If he still fails to provide child support, then the child’s mother may ask a lawyer to file a petition for child support in court. However, if as you say, the child support is merely delayed, then I suggest that the parties exert best efforts to avoid litigation because there is compliance anyway. If the child’s mother can afford a court case, then she may also ask that the support agreement be written in a formal contract, and which her lawyer can use later to collect child support in court. Of course, this must follow the appropriate court process, which I am certain that her lawyer will file. I hope this helps.

  3. Chona

    Hi, my husband work abroad for almost 5 yeats. And he has an affair for 3 yrs 5 yrs ago. And when his relationship ended wd this girl (i assume) he bring us in his place for a vacation and in their house i met his housemate. We talked. Chitchat. And after 3 months or so, i got an instinct that he is doing something AGAIN. And i just felt that his housemate and him have something going on. He lied. He denied. Then Not intentionally I hacked his 2nd facebook acct. Which he never added me up or even his friends or reltives or family who know us. Then I saw this messages. Sweet messages in his inbox. That was the time he confessed. But as short as “dati pa un at tapos n” I saved the messages. And i saw pic where the girl commented that “may nang aagaw ng pwesto” and the picture is my husbands desktop pc. Now my husband wants a separation. He want me to give our kids to his mom. And he wants me to leave his house (he still pays for it till now. He purchased it we are already married). My question is 1. Do we need to leave the house even if his mom told me to leave? 2. He is earning almost 150k abroad. How can I oblige him to support the kids financially more than what he is giving right now? Please help. Thanks so much.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Chona: You did not mention your child’s ages, so I will assume that they are minors and under 7 years old. You need not leave your family home even if you have been asked to leave. First, I suggest that you secure the regular monthly financial support of you and your children by hiring a lawyer to send him a demand letter for a specified monthly amount. If he fails to provide after receiving the demand letter, your lawyer may file a petition for spousal and child support in court. You will need to prepare various information to help your lawyer estimate your monthly needs and his earnings. If you have documents showing the amount of his income, that would be good. If the amount that he is currently providing is less than what your children need, then you can also follow the same procedure for asking child support through the assistance of a lawyer. I hope this helps.

  4. kristine

    How can i file child support? im married but he my ex abandoned us 3 years ago, we have 7 year old son and his under my custody. I haven’t filed for legal separation because i can’t afford to…. My ex doesnt want to give financial support for my son unless our son will be under his custody. Were both employed. My friends keeps on telling me to ask for financial support but im afraid he will again push for the custody of our son. I really dont know what to do, i need your advise.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Kristine: I suggest that you ask a lawyer to first send your husband a demand letter asking for child support. If he fails to heed the demand letter, then the same lawyer can file a petition for child support in court for you. Be prepared to show your child’s regular monthly expenses to make it enable your lawyer to specify an amount in the demand letter and later on, in the support petition. There will always be the possibility that the child’s father may ask for child custody but if he has not legally initiated proceedings in the past 3 years of your separation, then he may not be interested in it and may just be threatening you to keep you from asking for support. If he does ask for child custody instead of providing support, just be firm and prove your case and why it is to your child’s best interest to remain with you. Most judges will look at where the child has resided for the past years and often will choose to maintain the status quo so as not to unduly create a stressful situation of moving and adjusting to new surroundings, people and routines. So, don’t lose hope and fight for your child’s right to be supported.

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