Category Archives: Child Support and Visitation

Making Child Visitation Easier for Your Children

focus on being a parent to your children. 

While it’s normal to have negative feelings about your ex, you’ll have to resolve those issues privately, and not around your children.  Your goal should be to create a more peaceful life for them after the legal battle is over.  With a little practice and effort, you can help your children cope with the new living arrangement:

  • If you have nothing good to say about your ex, don’t say it.  Try to speak about your ex in positive terms when you are around your children.  If that’s not yet possible, then make it clear to your children that your issues are between you and your ex, and do not involve them.
  • Avoid heated arguments with your ex when your children are around. 
  • Do not use the children as couriers for information you should be discussing directly with your ex. Communicate by email or phone with your ex about matters pertaining to your children such as the monthly support and pick up times. 
  • Don’t use your children to gain personal information about your ex. 
  • Establish a regular routine as well as house and safety rules in your own home to bring some stability in the lives of your children.
  • Resist the urge to react negatively when your children rave about the other parent or about the things they do in the other home.   
  • Do not promote anger or hatred for the other parent, even if the separation was the other parent’s own doing.  Anger can prevent a child from maintaining a close personal relationship with the other parent.   
  • Reassure your children of your love, care and attention regardless of the situation.  Avoid using the threat of abandonment (even if it is an empty one) to instill discipline upon difficult children.  It is common for separated parents to see their children act out their emotional confusion and distress by being problematic or undisciplined. 
  • Be careful about misleading children into thinking that reconciliation between their parents is a possibility.  Some children find it difficult to adjust to the separation of their parents when they cling to the illusion that their parents will be back in each other’s arms someday.
  • Develop your own ways of displaying affection towards your children.  A hug or a pat on the back can bolster the verbal assurances you give your children. 
  • Acknowledge your children’s feelings for the other parent.  Allow them to express their emotions by crying and talking things over with you. 
  • Take time out to relax with your children.  Playing with your children also helps them heal from the psychic wounds inflicted by the separation. 

Proof of Relationship In Cases of Illegitimate Child Support

Generally, an illegitimate child is entitled to support but the law requires proof of filiation or relationship between the child and the supposed father.

The Supreme Court, in a line of cases, considered the following as acceptable proof of filiation:

  • voluntary recognition by the father in the birth certificate, will, or a statement before a court of record
  • an admission of filiation in a public instrument or a private handwritten instrument(document) AND signed by the parent concerned
  • a notarized agreement to support a child in which the father admitted his relationship to the child
  • letters to the mother vowing to be a good father to the child AND pictures of the father cuddling the child on various occasions, TOGETHER with the certificate of live birth.

So far, it seems that in the Philippines, only the University of the Philippines National Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has the capability to conduct DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis.

Form for Establishing a Visitation Schedule

Get free legal form for visitation schedule here.

When spouses separate, the non-custodial parent often has to put up with the whims of the custodial parent (or the one with whom the child or children reside) when it comes to seeing their common children.

Strained communications can make visitation especially painful for the seeking parent and the children who are caught in the middle of the warring parents.  Issues like marital infidelity and support often get in the way of visitation when one parent uses the children to punish the other for a marital issue.

This is why having a formal written visitation agreement is important not only Continue reading

Family Law Update: Rules on Court-Annexed Family Mediation

The Supreme Court recently issued its rules on Court-Annexed Family Mediation which took effect sometime in July 2010.

Under these rules, all issues under the Family Code and other laws relating to custody, support, visitation, guardianship of minor child, property relations and other issues that may be the subject of a compromise agreement, must first be referred to a mediator while the main case will be suspended in the meantime.  Read the full text of the Rules here.

Things to Ask a Prospective Lawyer

Your child’s custody is a matter that should not be left to chance.  While you are ultimately the one fighting for your rights, your battle is best fought for you by a lawyer.  If you still do not have a lawyer and you are separated right now, then it’s time for you to start choosing one that’s best for you. 

Draw a list of names suggested by friends and colleagues.  Take the time to interview each one to find out the following:

  1. The lawyer’s views on annulment/divorce, mediation and joint custody.  You are looking for someone who shares your philosophy. 
  2. The length of his experience in family law.  You need a lawyer who is familiar with your local court personnel and the procedures.  He can be an asset if he has represented clients before the same judicial officers who may end up hearing your case.
  3. Estimated costs of cases similar to yours.  What you will hear is a ballpark figure to give you an idea if it is within your budget.
  4. Legal fees and billing practices.  He may have a flat fee and hourly fees.  It is also common practice to ask for a deposit and for you to be billed for phone calls, legal research, correspondence, court appearances and such other time spent in relation to your case.
  5. The attorney-client written agreement.  You should be able to have lawyer’s fees, billing procedures, the lawyer’s scope of work and his excluded services clearly written in black and white.  Take the time out to read and understand this document before signing it.
  6. Trust and rapport with prospective lawyer.  You want someone who you can get along with and can disclose all the gory details pertinent to your case.  There is nothing that a lawyer dislikes more than surprises in the courtroom.  Letting your lawyer know what you did wrong will help him/her formulate the proper strategy for you. 

General Tips for the Courtroom

Your pending family law case should be one of your most important concerns. 

While your lawyer will do the talking for you during hearings, don’t assume that the judge hearing your case won’t make personal observations about you and your ex in court.  The non-verbal cues you send across the courtroom can spell the difference between believing your story or your ex wife’s or ex husband’s. 

Here are some things to remember when attending a hearing:

  • Attend all your hearing dates and be punctual at all times.  Your regular attendance shows that your child is important to you and that you care about the outcome of your case.
  • Appear in clean and pressed clothes and observe good personal hygiene.  Looking like you just woke up or had a long night out drinking with friends may create a negative impression about how responsible you can be with your child.
  • Don’t bring along a new lover or partner during your hearing.  If you must need moral support, let a close relative or a friend of the same sex accompany you in court. 
  • Be attentive during the hearing.  Avoid side conversations with the person next to you  or talking to your lawyer while the court is in session.  If needed, your lawyer can ask for time to confer with you.
  • When making statements or answering questions in court, always address the judge as “Your Honor”.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor.  Don’t allow your ex wife to provoke you into saying something ugly in the presence of the judge.  Be at your best behavior regardless of how the other parent is in court.  Besides, shouting and other aggressive behavior may be considered disrespectful to the judge and may be cause for contempt.   

Do I Have to Get a Travel Clearance to Bring my Illegitimate Child Abroad?

Reader I*** sent in this question:

What if the child is illegitimate but she bears the father’s family name. The father no longer sees her and does not give support as well or even tried to communicate. Are there any necessary documentation that the mother needs to file in order to bring the Child abroad? What possible grounds can a father file for the illegitimate child not to be brought abroad by the mother? And what can a mother do in order to make sure that the father will not try and stop her from bringing her child?

CFlorido says:

Hi, I***.
Illegitimate children are under the custody of the mother and for as long as the child is traveling with one of the parents, he or she need not have a travel clearance. In the situation cited, you said that the child bears the surname of the father, in which case, the mother should be prepared to show proof of her relationship to the child, usually a birth certificate (bring along an Affidavit of Illegitimacy as well). If the father has an existing visitation or custody arrangement approved in court then he may take steps to prevent the child from leaving the country including alerting the Bureau of Immigration. There is no specific guarantee against this move because the father has a right to have access to his minor child. I hope this helps.

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