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The Use Of Surnames

What's in a name? Why do people take matters to court because of the use of surnames? Whether it has to do with illegitimate children using their father's surname or a married woman adding her husband's surname, the process can become complicated without understanding the rule of law on using surnames. Republic Act 386 or An Act To Ordain And Institute The Civil Code Of The Philippines provides the following guidance on the use of surnames. 



Art. 364. Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father.

Art. 365. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter.

Art. 366. A natural child acknowledged by both parents shall principally use the surname of the father. If recognized by only one of the parents, a natural child shall employ the surname of the recognizing parent.

Art. 367. Natural children by legal fiction shall principally employ the surname of the father.

Art. 368. Illegitimate children referred to in Article 287 shall bear the surname of the mother.

Art. 369. Children conceived before the decree an'ing a voidable marriage shall principally use the surname of the father.

Art. 370. A married woman may use:

      (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or

      (2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or

      (3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as "Mrs."

Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may choose to continue employing her former husband's surname, unless:

      (1) The court decrees otherwise, or

      (2) She or the former husband is married again to another person.

Art. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before the legal separation.

Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he were still living, in accordance with Article 370.

Art. 374. In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion.

Art. 375. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants, the word "Junior" can be used only by a son. Grandsons and other direct male descendants shall either:

      (1) Add a middle name or the mother's surname, or

      (2) Add the Roman Numerals II, III, and so on.

Art. 376. No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.

Art. 377. Usurpation of a name and surname may be the subject of an action for damages and other relief.

Art. 378. The unauthorized or unlawful use of another person's surname gives a right of action to the latter.

Art. 379. The employment of pen names or stage names is permitted, provided it is done in good faith and there is no injury to third persons. Pen names and stage names cannot be usurped.

Art. 380. Except as provided in the preceding article, no person shall use different names and surnames.

How Can An Illegitimate Child Be Entitled To Child Support

Child support is an issue that unmarried mothers have to face when the child is born out of wedlock. It is often difficult to chase after fathers who have abandoned children to avoid responsibility. In general, children born outside a valid marriage is referred to as illegitimate children, but there are other reasons for illegitimacy.

1. Children born of couples below 18, regardless of the existence of marriage;
2. Children born of incestuous marriages;
3. Children born of adulterous relations between parents;
4. Children born of other void marriages specified under Article 15;
6. Children born of bigamous marriages.

Two Types of Illegitimate Children

1. Recognized illegitimate child: This is the child that the father recognizes or acknowledges. The child is also allowed to use the father's surname. The father can recognize the filiation through: admission made in a public document, admission made in a private handwritten document and father's recognition through the record of birth appearing in the civil register.

2. Unrecognized illegitimate child:The child is know recognized by his biological father and has to use the mother's surname.

While recognized illegitimate children are entitled to the father's support, the unrecognized child may only get support from the father if the relationship between the child and the father is proven. 

"Chapter 3. Illegitimate Children

Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.

The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. (289a)

Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. Except for this modification, all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in force. (287a)
Chapter 4. Legitimated Children

Art. 177. Only children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated. (269a)

Art. 178. Legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents. The annulment of a voidable marriage shall not affect the legitimation. (270a)

Art. 179. Legitimated children shall enjoy the same rights as legitimate children. (272a)

Art. 180. The effects of legitimation shall retroact to the time of the child's birth. (273a)

Art. 181. The legitimation of children who died before the celebration of the marriage shall benefit their descendants. (274)

Art. 182. Legitimation may be impugned only by those who are prejudiced in their rights, within five years from the time their cause of action accrues. (275a)"

Can You Change An Illegitimate Child's Surname To His Father's?

One question that surely lingers in one's mind when talking about illegitimate children is the use of the father's surname even when parents are not married. The good news is, the mother of the child need not be married to the father for the child to bear the father's surname. However, the child will only be allowed to use it if the child's paternity has been recognised.

Here are the requirements you need to prepare:

1. Valid identification for both parents;
2. Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF);
3. Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Live Birth of the child;
4. Affidavit of Admission of Paternity or the Affidavit of Acknowledgment

Additional details of the process are outlined in Republic Act No. 9255

"Rule 3.   Who may file

Under these rules, the father, mother, child if of age, or the guardian, may file the public document or Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF) in order for the child to use the surname of the father.
Rule 4.   Where to file
4.1.     The public document or AUSF executed within the Philippines shall be filed at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the child was born, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
4.2.     The public document or AUSF executed outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
4.3.     The public document or AUSF whether executed within or outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred outside the Philippines.
Rule 5.   What to file

The following shall be filed at the LCRO:
5.1.     Certificate of Live Birth with accomplished Affidavit of Acknowledgement/ Admission of Paternity at the back
5.2.     Public document
5.3.     AUSF, including all supporting documents
Rule 6.   When to register

The public document not made on the record of birth, or the AUSF shall be registered within twenty (20) days from the date of execution at the place where the birth was registered. Otherwise the procedures of late registration shall be applied.
Rule 7.   Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father
7.1        For Births Not Yet Registered
      7.1.1   The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed
           by the father, either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document.
      7.1.2   If admission of paternity is made through a private handwritten instrument, the child shall
           use the surname of the father, provided the registration is supported by the following
                 a.   AUSF
                 b.   Consent of the child, if 18 years old and over at the time of the filing of the document
                 c.   Any two of the following documents showing clearly the paternity between the father
                 and the child:
                       1)   Employment records
                       2)   SSS/GSIS records
                       3)   Insurance
                       4)   Certification of membership in any organization
                       5)   Statement of Assets and Liabilities
                       6)   Income Tax Return (ITR)
7.2        For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother
      7.2.1   If filiation has been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the surname
          of the father upon the submission of the accomplished AUSF.
      7.2.2   If filiation has not been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the
          surname of father upon submission of a public document or a private handwritten
          instrument supported by the documents listed in Rule 7.1.2.
7.3        Except in Item 7.2.1, the consent of the illegitimate child is required if he/she has reached the age of majority. The consent may be contained in a separate instrument duly notarized."

Understanding Child Support In the Philippines

When married couples decide to put an end to the relationship, it is always the children that are caught in the middle. The scenario wherein one party demands for child support can become an endless battle. This is where R.A. 9262 steps in. It is a sad fact that even after the annulment proceedings, both parties just cannot meet halfway let alone having an agreement with child support. However, child support should not be a complicated issue. Child support refers to a policy in which regular payment for the financial support of a child must be made. It is very common among cases of marriage annulment, invalid marriages and children who are born out of relationships which are non-marital.  Although there are some technicalities that make the entire process difficult to understand, just catching a glimpse of the family code will help you gain basic knowledge. 

Based on articles 195 and 196 of the Family Code, the following are required to support each other: 

• The spouses;

• Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

• Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

• Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

• Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood.

On the other hand articles 194, 201 and 202 states that the support must be in proportion to the provider’s resources and the recipient’s necessities. 

When it comes to supporting the recipient’s education, the support covers the training or schooling, and expenses, which include transportation and allowances. The support can be given in two options: either paying a fixed allowance or maintaining the person entitled to receive support in the giver’s dwelling. 

However, if the petition of annulment was successful, you are no longer required to provide support unless there was mutual agreement on both parties regarding rendering support. So long as the hearing for the petition is ongoing and the decisions have not been ruled out yet, the support must be continuous. 

When filing for child support, the first step will be filing the case in the court system. Relevant information must also be provided and necessary documents needs to be secured. Some of the documents that you will be required to submit include a valid photo ID card, proof of address, birth certificate of the child or children, proof of income, payment history and many more. 

The requirements must be completed before any hearing could take place. The court will provide the date of hearing and the non-custodial parent will be informed about it. The information that was provided will be validated and parents are required to answer questions the court may have about parenthood. The process can be lengthy depending on the circumstances and evidence presented.