Legal Issues that may Arise in a Western-Filipino Marriage

Here in Italy Filipinos are known as hard workers who hardly get into trouble with the law. Italians who complain about crimes committed by immigrants never or hardly ever complain about Filipinos.

Most Filipinos here either work live-in or they do multiple part-time jobs in the homes of wealthy people who entrust them with the keys of their homes and you hardly hear stories of Filipino domestic helpers who steal jewelry or money belonging to their employer while working.

Nevertheless, there are situations where what I call the Filipino “casual” approach to life might get them into some trouble with the laws of the Western country they live in and, as the husband of a Filipina, may get you into trouble as well if you are not careful.

For example, in this country many Filipinos avail of social welfare to the fullest extent possible and they seem to have a thorough knowledge of how to take advantage of all kinds of possible government handouts so, in order not to have any problems with the law, a Western husband whose Filipino wife is eager to tap into this kind of advantages or whose Filipino friends or relatives seek out assistance from him to interact with the Social Welfare agencies, should remind her or her Filipino friends or relatives to be careful with telling the whole truth when declaring one’ income, especially if the person asking for handouts has any extra income.

The fact that Filipinos want a car no matter what often entails that they disregard or postpone other obligations such as paying certain bills or taxes because maintaining their car has the priority.

Sometimes they carry 6, 7 or more passengers in a 5-seater car as if their car were a Filipino jeepney.

Some Filipinos here tend to take traffic laws lightly (like most Romans as well to be honest) and don’t always bother about paying tickets if they get fined.

On few occasions I have been pressured by some of my wife’s fellow Filipinos who didn’t have their resident permit yet to register their cars in my name and on one occasion I have even been asked to be somebody’s guarantor because he wanted to buy a brand new 9-seater on a loan.

Every now and then the Italian government extends an amnesty to illegal immigrants to give them the chance to become legal residents if someone is willing to hire them. A Westerner might be pressured by his Filipino wife to help an illegal fellow Filipino or Filipina by pretending that he is his or her employer willing to hire him or her.

So, although Filipinos are, by and large, hardworking and law-abiding, although they will never become burglars or rob a bank, their “casual” approach to things may get them to take certain laws of the Western country they live in a little “lightly”.

As a Western husband you need to balance loving your wife, the extended family and the Filipino community with its amazing bayanihan spirit with being careful not to get into some kind of trouble with the law.

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