Parental authority over illegitimate children

Legal Query:

Dear Sir,

I lived eight years with my boyfriend and from this partnership we have one gift from God who is now two years old. This year he surprised me with the declaration that he must return to his wife as the annulment proceedings failed. I love him and understand his position as he supported me for several years. The sad thing is he wants to take our son with him.

I know I can support our son as I currently lead the entire IT department at a leading property firm. Can he take my son away?

Sincerely,

Jane

Issues:

Who has parental authority of an unemancipated, illegitimate child .

Answer:

You, as the mother have sole parental authority.

Legal Basis:

The recent case of Daisie  David vs. CA, et al. (G.R. No. 111180,16 November 1995) clarified that an illegitimate child is under the parental authority of his or her mother, who, as a consequence of such authority, is entitled to have custody of the child. The pertinent passages follow

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“In the case at bar, Christopher J. is an illegitimate child since at the time of his conception, his father, private respondent Ramon R. Villar, was married to another woman other than the child’s mother. As such, pursuant to Art. 176 of the Family Code, Christopher J. is under the parental authority of his mother, the herein petitioner, who, as a consequence of such authority, is entitled to have custody of him. Since, admittedly, petitioner has been deprived of her rightful custody of her child by private respondent, she is entitled to issuance of the writ of habeas corpus.

Indeed, Rule 1021 §1 makes no distinction between the case of a mother who is separated from her husband and is entitled to the custody of her child and that of a mother of an illegitimate child who, by law, is vested with sole parental authority, but is deprived of her rightful custody of her child.

The fact that private respondent has recognized the minor child may be a ground for ordering him to give support to the latter, but not for giving him custody of the child. Under Art. 213 of the Family Code, “no child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.”

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The natural right and duty of parents over their unemancipated children  includes rearing  for civic consciousness and efficiency as well as the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well-being.  (Articles 209-210, Family Code).

Hence the aforementioned facts make it clear that you, as the mother of your illegitimate and unemancipated child, are his sole guardian and you are  entitled to keep him in your custody.

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