All things single mothers need to know about child support
Learn about benefits for single moms in the Philippines. Plus, requirements and steps for claiming support from the government or the child’s biological father.
Single mothers are a fast-growing segment of the population. According to a study by the Department of Health and the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health, there are an estimated 15 million solo parents in the Philippines, 95% of whom are women.
One of the biggest challenges single moms face is having to provide and care for a family on just one salary–that’s if they’re lucky enough to be employed. Fortunately, there are laws in place that offer support for single mothers. Whether it’s through seeking financial support from the child’s biological father, or aid from the government, it’s important to know your rights and what benefits are available to you.
Here’s a guide to (almost) everything single moms in the Philippines need to know about where and how to get child support.
What government programs and benefits are available?
On June 4, 2022, the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act (Republic Act No. 11861) lapsed into law. The bill gives solo parents access to benefits, which include:
- Protection from discrimination and equal opportunities at work.
- Flexible work schedules, subject to the employer’s approval.
- Seven days of paid parental leave every year for employees (regardless of employment status) who have rendered at least six months of service.
- Education benefits tied with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Once they pass the assessment, solo parents and their children who meet the program’s qualifications may avail of a scholarship.
- Childminding centers within the vicinity of their workplace or residence.
- Being allowed to breastfeed in the workplace.
- Social safety assistance from the local government such as food, medicine, and financial aid when disaster or calamity hits, or a public health crisis arises.
- Monthly cash subsidy of PHP 1,000 for those earning minimum wage or less and are not recipients of other cash assistance programs from the government.
- A 10% discount and value-added tax (VAT) exemption on baby products such as milk, food, supplements, diapers, prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements. The discount can be availed by solo parents earning less than PHP 250,000 per year who have children six years old and below.
- Automatic PhilHealth coverage where premium contributions will be shared by the national government and employer.
- Housing benefits such as prioritization, allocation, and easy payment options in government low-cost housing programs, if they fall below the poverty line.
Who can avail of these benefits?
While single mothers make up most of the solo parent demographic, the law expanded its definition to individuals who act as parents to a child or children. Under the law, those who fall under any of these categories below are entitled to benefits for solo parents.
- Women who are victims of rape, even without a final conviction of the offender.
- Parents who provide sole parental support due to:
- Death of a spouse
- A spouse serving time for a criminal conviction
- Physical or mental incapacity of the spouse
- Legal separation of de facto separation for at least six months
- Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage
- Abandonment by the spouse for at least six months
- Unmarried mother/father who decides to keep and rear their child or children.
- A legal guardian, an adoptive or foster parent who is a sole provider
- A relative who assumes responsibility for a child as a result of death, abandonment, disappearance, or absence of parents for at least six months.
- Spouse or any family member of an overseas Filipino worker or the guardian of a child of a low or semi-skilled overseas worker who is away from the Philippines for an uninterrupted period of 12 months.
- A pregnant woman who provides sole parental care to her unborn child or children
How can solo parents avail of these benefits?
Before handing out discounts and other benefits, companies and government offices will require a Solo Parent Identification Card. This is a government-issued ID that is valid for one year and is renewable.
How does one apply for a Solo Parent ID?
Similar to other government IDs, applicants are required to prepare the following documents:
- Barangay Certificate as proof of residence in your barangay for the last six months
- Proof of Financial Status. This could be a copy of your Income Tax Return from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), or any other formal document declaring your income.
- Supporting Documents or Certificates, such as medical certificates or annulment papers, to prove your status as a solo parent.
- Child/Children’s Birth Certificates from the Philippine Statistics Authority
- Accomplished Solo Parent ID Application Form and one 2x2 photo. Copies are available at your local social welfare and development office.
Once documents are complete, head to the nearest Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office or book an appointment through your local government office. Submit your documents and application form to a social worker for review. Once it’s approved, your ID will be issued after 30 days from filing. You will also be given instructions to download a digital version of your ID.
Child support in the Philippines
Government programs and benefits may help improve a single mother’s social well-being but can only provide so much. If a single mom who has custody of her children finds that they are not receiving enough support, there are legal avenues to demand child support from their father.
The Family Code describes child support as regular financial support for the essential needs of the child. These essentials include food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, transportation, and education–including schooling or training of offspring over 18 years old.
This financial support is usually provided by the parent who doesn’t have custody of the child. It can also be paid by both parents if the child is under the custody of a relative or legal guardian.
How can single mothers file a claim for child support?
The first step is to get the father to acknowledge that the child is his, or establish paternity. This can be done through:
- Signing the child’s birth certificate
- Executing an affidavit of recognition
- A letter or document formally acknowledging the child
- A DNA test, if any dispute arises
The single mother (or whoever has custody of the child) should then send a formal written request for child support from the father (or the non-custodial parent). In addition to the letter, the process will require the following documents:
- Child/Children’s Birth Certificates from the Philippine Statistics Authority
- PSA Marriage Certificate, if applicable
- Receipts for child-related expenses
- List of assets and bank accounts
- Proof of income
Both parents can agree on an amount for child support. However, if the father (or non-custodial parent) refuses or does not provide financial assistance, the mother (or custodial parent) can sue for child support. Taking matters to family court will entail huge amounts in legal fees. To ease the claiming party’s financial burden, they have the option to consult with the Public Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice, or DSWD.
Every case is unique, which is why it’s best to seek legal counsel if you decide to pursue legal action to claim child support.
- 2018 guide to child support in Philippine law. Lawyers in the Philippines. (2022, June 29). Retrieved from https://lawyerphilippines.org/2018-guide-to-child-support-in-philippine…
- Bacelonia, A. P. and W. (2022, June 28). Bill granting more benefits to solo parents lapses into law. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1177675
- Family laws for child support in the Philippines: YKC law in Manila. Yap Kung Ching & Associates Law. (2020, May 20). Retrieved from https://www.ykclaw.ph/family-law-philippines/
- Laws on child support in the Philippines. Philippine e-Legal Forum. Retrieved from https://pnl-law.com/blog/laws-on-child-support-in-the-philippines/
- Press release - expanded solo parents Bill passed in the Senate. Latest News. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://legacy.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2021/1215_go2.asp
- Republic act no. 11861: Govph. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. (2022, June 2). Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2022/06/02/republic-act-no-11861/
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