Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Right To Use Maiden Name After Marriage

Last night I read something that made me "praning" and made me wonder if I am LEGALLY REQUIRED to use my husband's surname after marriage.

I consulted my lawyer friend, Atty. Leo Ganzon, and he shared the Article 370 from the New Civil Code of the Philippines. 

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.”

The "MAY" in the sentence means it is OPTIONAL. It is not a duty. It is not mandatory to adopt your husband's surname after marriage.

A woman is allowed to keep and continue using her maiden name in ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTS after marriage. 

IMPORTANT: However, if the married woman starts using her husband's surname in her passport, license, SSS and other forms of national identification and/or she signs any legal documents/contracts using her husband's surname, she will never be able to revert to her maiden name until  her marriage is annulled or until she is widowed.

The last part was also confirmed by a friend, who was going through separation. Only until her marriage is annulled by the courts can she start using her maiden name legally again. 

Bottomline is: FILIPINA WOMEN CAN KEEP AND LEGALLY CONTINUE USING THEIR MAIDEN NAMES AFTER MARRIAGE. However, if they plan to do so, they should NEVER use their husbands' surname IN ANY identification, legal documents and legal contracts.



P.S. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a housewife. Don't ask me legal questions.


  1. BUT when you go to government offices to *update* your status - they will INSIST you use your married surname. Shempre di nila alam, PERO ipipilit parin nila yon. Talino nila noh?

    When you show them the provision - biglang papayag na sila...

    1. It has never happened to me. I read na if pinilit ka, read out ARTICLE 370 and share ung past decision ng Supreme Court. Assuming Of course marami kang oras to debate.
      May cases ako na basa na sabi raw ng data encoder raw sa LTO "if change status, change name." But then lawyer ung nag renew ng license so ayaw syang tantanan. Pinatawag ang supervisor. Tapus after nabasa ung article nag smile at sabi, ay pwede pala.

  2. Could it be that you don't like your husband's surname? Would things be different if your husband's surname was a prominent-sounding one

    1. My husband's family name is "prominent-sounding", as you put it. However, I am quite old when I got married that I will have many legal documents to change (properties and investments). But thank you for raising your POV. It never occurred to me that some people won't change if it's not prominent-sounding.

    2. My friend didn't take her husband's last name, not because it wasn't prominent-sounding, but rather because they reside in CA and her husband's Filipino surname could also pass for a Mexican surname, takot si friend mapagkamalan siyang undocumented worker.

      I think she's being absurd but hey,it's her name.

    3. Cguro para akong "tycoon" if I use my husband's surname. Pero josko, hassle to change all my papers. Tandercats na ako when I got married. Medyo may napundar na for retirement hehe. Ung nawala passport ko, it was so hard to prove my identify ha. I even had to bring my yearbook sa DFA. Konte lang ID ko kasi. After that, parang I just want to gather IDs that consistently use my name just incase I have to prove I am me again.


    4. I adopted my husband's surname but didn't change all my ids at once. Note that we reside abroad so Medyo scattered all over ang kelangan Ayusin so I just tackled each one on an as-needed basis (ie passport and license were updated when they expired and had to be renewed). I updated when it was convenient for me to do so. This meant that I kept a copy of my marriage certificate in the car all the time, I have not encountered any situations where it was not an acceptable proof that I am who I claimed to be (maiden name or married name).

      I never changed my maiden name on any titles or registration ng property. I still have accounts under my maiden name. Didn't have issues when I sold a property purchased long ago under my maiden name recently. It didn't even come up.

    5. Now this is very good news! To sell properties and old accounts in maiden name, you had to present marriage certs din?

    6. Yes, I did sa Pilipinas. By this time kasi my government issued IDs (passport, drivers' license, SS ID, ...) were all under my married name na and since the title was in my maiden name and we never changed the title (gastos and hassle pa). Other than the ID thing, the issue of my being married did not even come up.

      Sa US, I sold a condo I purchased when I was single a couple of years ago. I brought it up with the lawyer who handled the closing, sabi nya it should not be an issue. The deed was in my maiden name but the sales contract / transfer docs are all in my married name. The only ID I had to show was my current drivers' license. During the sale, my husband did have to sign all the docs too to show his consent (state laws sa NJ required it) even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the purchase (he wasn't even in the country when I bought it).

    7. This is really helpful! My only drawback tlga are my investments and properties under my name. after the trauma of losing my passport and proving my identify, I just want to have every name consistent para hindi hassle. My husband has dual citizenship and 2 names, it seems like such a hassle that he brings his "certificate of change name" everytime we travel.

      I think someone posted if my husband is insulted that I seem hesitant to change my name. I think after he lost my passport and saw me presenting my diploma and yearbook (yes!) to the DFA , he understood why I needed to keep my name. Actually now, I am in the process of collecting IDs. I only have 2! I don't work na kasi di ba

    8. Glad my experience is helpful :)

      It's good that your husband is okay with whatever you decide, wala naman comment ang family niya ? Can't imagine having to lug my yearbook around, was it because you needed an ID that has a picture ?

      Off the top of my head, I can suggest the following IDs:
      - Passport
      - SS ID - diba they came out with the new ID a few years ago ?
      - drivers' license, unless you don't drive (ang cool sa US is merong Non-driver's license so that non-drivers have a govt issued id too)
      - postal ID - you only need NSO birth cert & proof of residence like a credit card bill or a postpaid cellphone bill, pwede rin barangay clearance. If you're changing your name, bring marriage certificate too.
      - diba may voter's ID na ?

      Btw, one of my friend's motivation in changing her name was so that when she has kids, pareho sila ng surname. Hindi hassle mag explain sa airport na nanay siya ng mga bata should she have to travel w/ the kids without the husband - something to think about, no ?

    9. We are Filipino-Chinese so parang it all sounds the same. Hahaha. He doesn't mind. He is already confused with his own names.

      I had to bring my year book because I only had 1 postal ID and 1 company ID, I needed more to prove my identity.

      I will now get my driver's license. Pero my gosh, hassle sa LTO. My friend from SG, went home to renew. He was there from to 9am-4pm and sa lagay na un, he paid RUSH. and I read sa female network that LTO is one of those agencies that asks you to change name with change status. As what didi said, Hindi briefed lahat ng agencies sa article 370.

      May bagong postal ID na rin. So, I also need to update my current. I'll swing by the post office later.

      SSS, I also need this and will go home probably to Iloilo to process.

      Sa Manila, it's a hassle to process IDs sa dami ng Tao.

      As to kids traveling, okay na raw sabi ng department of immigration. Bring birth cert LNG.

  3. What are the pros and cons of changing/not changing names?

  4. SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig lang yung sa married name ko but yung passport, postal id maiden name parin. I was married in 2011 nag renew ako ng passport ko 2015 using my maiden name and still was granted with my maiden name. Kung ayaw niyo ipapalit yung mga ID's ninyo just use your maiden name. Kapag once na pinalitan niyo at nag submit kayo ng marriage cert. tapos gusto niyo iparetain yung name niyo noong single pa kayo, hindi na pwede sa ayaw at sa gusto ninyo yung surname ng husband ninyo talaga gagamitin ninyo.