When I got married last 2010, I didn’t know how changing surname actually works. As a medical doctor, I just copied other doctors who got married before me and just placed a dash (-) from my surname and to that of my husband’s surname, not knowing that there are other options available for me.
Getting confused on what to use, I asked a lawyer friend about the legalities of how to properly change my name from maiden to married one. These are the things I learned that I want to share with you.
But before I start, let me give you my name that we will also be using below as an example for this entire article.
My maiden name: Pinky A. De Leon
My husband’s name: Ferdinand B. Intal
TO CHANGE OR NOT TO CHANGE NAMES
Filipinos have this notion that once a woman marries, she needs to change her surname to that of her husband’s. It’s not true that you need to do that, in fact, it’s only her civil status that changes, not her name.
Do you know that according to Article 370 of the Civil Code, there are a number of legal ways on how a married woman may use her name, she may use the following:
1. Her maiden’s first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or
e.g. Pinky A. De Leon-Intal
2. Her maiden’s first name and her husband’s surname or
e.g. Pinky D. Intal
3. Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”
e.g. Mrs. Ferdinand B. Intal
or another option is – Don’t change your maiden name entirely
e.g. Pinky A. De Leon
As a matter of fact, the law does not oblige a woman to change her name because of marriage. The Civil Code gives the woman options on how to use her name and her husband’s after she marries. As I indicated above, she may adopt her husband’s name, just add it to her name or she may not even use it at all. Again, to reiterate, the woman can even only change her civil status and not her name.
CONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT
Once you have decided on the options available above on what name to use after marriage, then you have to be consistent as much as possible on using that name consistently especially when using it for legal documents.
For doctors, sometimes it’s hard to use your husband’s surname immediately after the wedding since patients have known you with your maiden name before. So, others use a screen name for their clinic use, such as using their maiden name dash husband’s name (option 1 of Civil Code) in their clinics, so that their patients would know that they are still the same doctor they went to before, and that they only married.
Then use a different name maiden’s first name and husband’s surname (option 2 of Civil Code) for legal documents.
Well, you can do that but remember to be very consistent especially if you are dealing with your legal documents.
Clinic’s name (a.k.a. Screen Name): Dr. Pinky A. De Leon-Intal
Legal Name: Pinky D. Intal (for all legal documents) – this should be consistent in I.D.s, legal documents, etc.
STAND YOUR GROUND
In changing your name, the norm is, you need to change your surname to that of your husband’s, right? Yes. But, if you opt to choose other options instead of the norm, people will start questioning you every time, believe me. I can’t count the number of times I need to explain why I use a hyphenated one. I need to explicitly and absolutely made clear that I intent to keep my name and just add my husband’s name.
Well, just remember that you have to be patient with people if they will ask you so many times about this and even makes mistakes even after your lengthy explanation. But you have to stand your ground and use your chosen name always.
UPDATE ALL YOUR LEGAL DOCUMENTS OR CIVIL RECORDS
After deciding your legal name, then it’s time to update all your records.
I.D. (You may want to wait until the I.D. expires, but change it as the need arises)
Investments (Mutual Funds, UITF, Stocks, Hospital stocks)
*FOR I.D.s: You may want to wait until the I.D. expires, but change it as the need arises
Your Civil Records:
BIR Form 2305
Other things you might want to change or update:
- Your life insurance beneficiaries
- Your dependents on your SSS, PhilHealth and HMOs
- Your last will and testament
Finally, if you are not a doctor reading this you may ask, does this rule also applies to you? My answer is YES. This applies to all women getting married in the Philippines and thinking about what name you want to use after the wedding.
For all the Brides be informed,
(That’s only my screen name) 🙂
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