Atty. Barney, since 2015, I have been living separately from my husband. Our two daughters are with me and I am taking the full responsibility of raising and supporting them. Am I considered a ‘Solo Parent’ under the law even though I am married? What are the benefits provided by the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act and how can I avail these benefits? – Thelma
Yes, you are considered a Solo Parent under Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000. When spouses are separated in fact for at least one year, the parent who is left alone with the full responsibility and custody of their children qualifies to be a solo parent. The law defined Solo Parent as any individual who falls under any of the following categories:
(1) A woman who gives birth as a result of rape or crimes against chastity, even without a final conviction of the offender: Provided, that the mother keeps and raises the child;
(2) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse;
(3) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood while the spouse is detained, or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year; The law applies to the spouses of prisoners, whether or not a final judgment has been rendered, provided they are in detention for a minimum period of one (1) year;
(4) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;
(5) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year: Provided, that he or she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
(6) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church: Provided, that he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
(7) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;
(8) Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear his/her child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;
(9) Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children provided he/she is duly licensed as a foster parent by the DSWD or duly appointed legal guardian by the court; and
(10) Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of the family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent: Provided, that such abandonment, disappearance, or absence lasts for at least one (1) year.
The following are the benefits available to a qualified Solo Parent:
1. Comprehensive package of social development and welfare services – which includes: livelihood development services, counseling services, parent effectiveness services, critical incidence stress debriefing, temporary shelter, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment
2. Flexible work schedule – right granted to a solo parent employee to vary his/her arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer
3. No work discrimination – no employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status
4. Parental leave – not more than seven (7) working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year
5. Educational benefits – scholarship programs and non-formal education programs
6. Housing benefits – solo parents who meet the eligibility criteria for housing assistance under Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 and other related rules and regulations of participating housing agencies shall be provided with liberal terms of payment on government low-cost housing projects
7. Medical Assistance
To avail the benefits provided by law, aside from certain conditions that must be met solo parent must apply for a Solo Parent Identification Card with the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office where he/she is residing.
Atty. Barney, I am a retired school teacher from Batangas City. I have three children and I would want to prepare a handwritten last will and testament to properly distribute my properties among them. What are the requirements for it to be considered valid? – Sonia
A handwritten or holographic will (as worded by law) must be entirely written, dated and signed by you as the testator. It is subject to no other form and may be made in or out of the Philippines and need not be witnessed. In addition to this, the handwritten will must be executed in a language or dialect known to you.