Adopting your son entitles him to bear your surname
"I am a single mom. My son was acknowledged by his father and is using his father’s surname. I wanted my son to use my surname instead of his father’s. I have read in one of your opinions that filing a petition for the change of surname of a minor child is premature and should be left to the discretion of the child when he reaches the age of majority. I really wanted to change the surname of my son because his father is irresponsible and does not even bother to visit him. Is there a way that I can change the surname of my son other than filing a petition for change of surname?Chin-Chin
Dear Chin-Chin,You son being illegitimate has a right to use your surname. However, the law likewise allows your son to use his father’s surname, if he was acknowledged by the latter (Article 176, Family Code of the Philippines).
Since he is already using his father’s surname, changing the same would entail the imprimatur of the court through a Petition for Change of Surname. Under the New Civil Code of the Philippines, no person can change his name or surname without juridical authority from the court (Article 376).Although you could file the Petition for Change of Name in behalf of your son, it is possible that the court would not grant the same because the petition was not filed by the person desiring to change his surname. This was the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Dolores Gemora Padilla vs. Republic of the Philippines (G.R. No. L-28274, April 30, 1982), to wit:
“xxx we consider the instant action taken by petitioner in behalf of her minor children to be premature. Indeed, the matter of change of their surname should better be left to the judgment and discretion of the children themselves when they reach the age of maturity. If in their adulthood they want to change their surname, then they themselves or any of them may take such appropriate action as the law may permit.”Nevertheless, even without filing a Petition for Change of Surname, your son’s surname may be changed. This is through the filing of a Petition for Adoption in favor of your son to elevate him to the status of a legitimate child. As a legitimate child, he shall bear your surname. This is one of the consequences of adoption wherein a legal tie is created between the adopter and the adoptee such that a parent-child relationship is created (Section 17 of Republic Act No.8552 or the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998).
However, your son’s filiation to his father will cease to exist once adoption is granted. As such, he can no longer oblige his father to provide him support. Likewise, in adoption, the consent of the biological parents of the adopted child is required. You may have a hard time asking this from your son’s father.In addition, your son after the adoption is decreed may no longer inherit from his father, unless there is a will executed by the latter bequeathing properties to your son. This is in accordance with Section 18 of Republic Act 8522, which provides:“Section 18. Succession.—In legal and intestate succession, the adopter[s] and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. However, if the adoptee and his/her biological parent[s] had left a will, the law on testamentary succession shall govern.”Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to guide you with our opinion on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com"
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"Adopting your son entitles him to bear your surname"
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and updated on 14 September 2021