Wednesday, March 14, 2018

To all the Filipinas: You can marry AND keep your maiden name

Married women can keep their maiden name after marriage/Photo credit to

It is less common in a Filipino marriage, but it is allowed by law to have women retain their maiden name after they are married.

It is explicitly provided in Article 370 of the Civil Code that a married woman has the option to add her husband’s surname to her surname through hyphenation, use her husband’s surname, use her husband’s full name with the prefix Mrs., or just retain her surname.

Atty. Krizia Katrian Leanne D. Talon explains that “the law does not oblige a woman to change her name because of marriage.”

In the landmark decision by the Supreme Court (SC) on Maria Virginia V. Remo vs The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs (G.R. No. 169202, March 5, 2010), the ruling explicitly states that a married woman has the choice to retain her last name.

“Clearly, a married woman has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by Article 370 of the Civil Code. She is therefore allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370, but also her maiden name upon marriage,” it reads.

Despite these legislative and judiciary provisions, the Filipino culture remains dubious once it comes to women opting to keep their maiden surname.

"We’ve begun acknowledging the hyphenated surnames in recent years, but even so, some women who elect to do this still encounter setbacks, and every so often find themselves in situations where they are made to explain their choice or prove that is a legitimate one. Imagine what a married woman who retains her maiden name faces,” Talon explains

The issue can ricochet between cultural and political, but Filipinas should not be discouraged from asserting their lawful right to maintaining their surname.

Some government employees will stubbornly insist that it is not possible, or even legal, that a married woman would not use her husband’s family name, but keeping a level-head and securing enough documentary evidence will often make them concede.

If all else fails, call in the manager as Cecilia Lopez-Abitang had to when she updated her civil status at the Social Security System (SSS) office.

Aya Tantiangco who wrote an article on this matter suggested bringing along an authorization letter by and two IDs of your husband when transacting at government offices.

Tantiangco lists down the following offices that you have to be sure you update your civil status in:

·         Bureau of Internal Revenue
·         SSS
·         PhilHealth
·         Pag-Ibig

There are also other, but not as pressing, documents that you would need to update soon after the marriage high is done such as your passport and voter’s ID.
While it will not be an easy transaction, Tantiangco advises to simply be consistent with the name you use so as not to get all the papers messed up.

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Source: GMA

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