I am pregnant but not yet married. My parents want to use my surname for my baby since I am not yet married to the father of my child. I want to inquire if there would be hassles in changing my child’s surname to that of my boyfriend once we decide to marry later?
On the assumption that you and your boyfriend are capacitated to get married at the time that your child is conceived and born, we don’t see problems that may arise on the day when you wish to change your child’s surname to that of his/her father after you have ultimately decided to get married. Capacity to get married means that there is no legal impediment for you and your boyfriend to get married at the time that your child is conceived and born. If you register your child under your surname, you can change your child’s surname to that of his/her father after you get married at a later date through the process of legitimation. 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. Under the law, legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents. The effects of the same shall retroact to the time of the child’s birth (Articles 177, 178 and 180, Family Code).
All you have to do is go to the Local Civil Registrar where the birth of your child is registered and inquire on the procedures you have to follow for your guidance. You may be asked to accomplish forms for that purpose and submit some documents for his and his office’s reference.
We would like to inform you, however, that the fact that the parents of a child are not married at the time of his/her birth is not an impediment for the child to use the surname of his/her father. The law allows illegitimate children to use the surname of their fathers, provided, that the latter signify acknowledgement of their paternity over the children. Republic Act 9255, or An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children to Use the Surname of their Father, made it legally possible for an illegitimate child to use the surname of his/her father, provided the father expressly recognized the child as his own by acknowledging him/her as his.
Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of that law, certain requirements have to be met for the child to avail of the privilege or right and be able to use his or her father’s surname.
For births not yet registered like in your case, 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. 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 documents:
Authority to Use Surname of the Father (AUSF)
Consent of the child, if 18 years old and over at the time of the filing of the document
Any two of the following documents showing clearly the paternity between father and child:
Certificate of membership in any organization
Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)
Income Tax Return (ITR)
We hope that we were able to address your query. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org