Being part of a separated family is always difficult. But it can be even more so when families or parents are separated from their kids in different countries.
Every country has different rules and procedures to make sure kids are taken care of, and you can make it easier by knowing how child support works in your country. If you and your child are separated and one of you lives in the Philippines, this guide can help you navigate child support there.
A separated family is one in which the members of the immediate family don’t live together. This can include:
- Parents who live separately
- Children who live with one parent or split time between both parents
- Children who don’t live with either parent
Child support is generally paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent, but it can also be paid to another party, like a relative or guardian who has custody of the child.
- Non-custodial parent: The parent of a child who does not have parental authority.
- Custodial parent: The parent of a child who has parental authority, which means they have the “right and duty” to care for the child.
In the case of a married couple, both parents have custody. If a woman gives birth out of wedlock, she has automatic custody of the child, though the father can request custody (shared or otherwise) through the courts¹.
Child support is regular financial support used for the needs of a child. It is generally paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent who has custody, but can also be paid by both parents if someone else, like another relative, has custody of the child.
In the Philippines, the law says child support is for “indispensable” needs of the child, which include food, shelter, clothes, medical care, education and transportation².
First, the custodial parent must prove that the non-custodial parent is related to the child. If there’s any dispute, a DNA test can be done. Then, the custodial parent must demand child support. It’s best to do this in writing, with proof that the non-custodial parent received the demand (i.e. a certified letter). If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay, the custodial parent can now sue for child support².
Filing a lawsuit obviously comes with court fees. But in the Philippines, there are a lot of resources to help ease the financial burden of seeking child support. Parents can seek help from the Public Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice or the Department of Social Welfare and Development³.
There’s no fixed rate or percentage in the Philippines. A court will decide the amount that should be paid based on the child’s needs and the parents’ means.
There are two options once a parent has been ordered to provide child support:
- The non-custodial parent pays an allowance to the custodial parent. The failure to pay child support is not criminalized in the Philippines, and so the custodial parent’s options are pretty limited should the non-custodial parent not comply.
- The non-custodial parent provides care for the child in his or her home, unless there is a “moral” reason this isn’t possible, like if the non-custodial parent has mistreated the child.
If you live abroad and need to pay child support for a child in the Philippines, using international bank transfers or a traditional money transfer service could mean you get stuck paying a 4-5% markup on the exchange rate. TransferWise transfers money internationally at the real mid-market rate — the same exchange rate you see when you Google it — for just a small, fair transfer fee.
TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow users to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies at once. If you’re a frequent traveller to the Philippines, beginning in 2018 borderless account holders are able to get a consumer debit cards, making it even easier to access your money while you’re abroad.
In the Philippines, child support continues until the child turns 18.
How can I reduce the child support amount that I’m paying? Does shared residency affect child support?
Child support in the Philippines isn’t fixed or final. If the financial situation of one or both parents changes, either parent can petition the court to update the child support requirements².
In the Philippines, there aren’t many options for forcing a parent to pay child support if he or she isn’t willing. The best case scenario is that there are two parents who agree to put the needs of their child before their relationship.
If the parents are in agreement about child support, there’s no need for court involvement. They can make an informal agreement to split costs, though the agreement will not be legally binding in case of a later dispute.
If the parents are not in agreement, the custodial parent will have to demand child support. If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay after receiving a demand, the only recourse is for the custodial parent to sue for child support¹.
Child support laws in the Philippines are far from comprehensive, so knowing your rights and responsibilities is important to make sure your child gets the care he or she needs. With these tools, caring for a child in the Philippines should be easier, even if you’re across national lines.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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