Courts are ordering child support payments in a number of cases involving so-called ‘Kopino’ children born to South Korean fathers and women in the Philippines.
Judge Kim Su-jeong of the third family divisions at Seoul Family Court ruled on June 8 that a South Korean man should pay 300,000 won (US$270) a month in child support for his child with a Filipino woman.
The court confirmed the man’s paternity in the case, which was filed by the woman to demand the confirmation and request child support.
The businessman father met the woman in August 2010 during a trip to the Philippines, where she worked at a karaoke bar. The divorced woman was raising her child from her first marriage at the time.
The businessman continued to meet the woman during several subsequent visits to the Philippines. In Sept. 2012, he learned that the woman was pregnant with his child. In May 2013, he scheduled a visit to the country for the anticipated date of birth.
Around the same time, the man confessed the situation to his South Korean wife, resulting in discord at home that prevented him from making future visits to the Philippines. For the three years starting in June 2012, he sent remittances of totaling around US$9,350 to the woman and purchased a television for her.
After the payments stopped, the woman filed suit in South Korean court to demand compensation of five million won (US$4,460) and child support payments of 40 million won (US$35,700).
“The child born in May 2013 is clearly the defendant’s,” the judge said in the ruling.
“In view of the cost of living in the Philippines, the economic situation, the fact that the plaintiff is focusing mainly on child-raising and is likely to face difficulties finding stable employment in the future, and the amount of the money that has already been send, child support of 300,000 won a month is appropriate,” the judge continued.
The judge rejected the woman’s request for a lump-sum payment of the child support, citing “the risk of the money being used for other purposes.”
The judge also rejected the woman’s demand for personal compensation for having been in a “relationship of anticipated marriage.”
“At the time the two individuals met, the defendant had a spouse and offspring in South Korea, and his only meetings with the plaintiff took place when he was visiting the Philippines on business,” the judge concluded.
The first court ruling ordering child support payments for a Kopino child emerged on May 28. Judge Ju Jin-oh of the second family division at the Seongnam branch of Suwon District Court ruled that a 45-year-old man had to pay 500,000 won (US$450) a month until maturity for each of two children that he fathered with a Filipino woman during their cohabitation from 1995 to 2001.
The older of the two sons was born in March 1996, and the younger in September 1998. The mother, who had been raising the children alone in the Philippines, filed suit belatedly to verify the paternity of the second son, who is still a minor, and demand child support payment. The court ruled for the father to pay 20 million won (US$17,800) in back child support and 500,000 won a month until Sept. 2017, when the boy reaches adulthood.
Jeong Jin-nam, head of the local Kopino support group We Love Kopino (WLK) in the Philippines, said the number of Kopino children was estimated to be around 30,000.
“Filipino mothers have had difficulty in past filing suit internationally without considering their decision very carefully, so these rulings are likely to be significant,” Jeong said.
By Seo Young-ji, staff reporter
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