Legitimate child mandated to use father’s surname
"Greetings! I just want to know if my two daughters from previous marriage both of legal ages 20 and 18 could file a petition in court for surname change. Their biological father never supported them and I have shouldered the parenting responsibilities solely and in the last 5 years with my present husband (a Dutchman). Both my daughters want to drop the surname of their father for the very reason that he abandoned them since our separation in the year 2000. And even if they try to communicate with him, he would give lame answers and would even try to annoy or infuriate them. My daughters feel that there is no sense to use the surname of a father who does not care and love them. My daughters wanted to use my Dutch husband’s surname or my mother’s maternal name. I also want to know the procedure in filing this petition. How long will it take to finally have a new surname?
Thank you so much and I look forward to your answer. More power! Sincerely,
The cases of Padilla vs. Republic (G.R. No. L-28274 April 30, 1982) and Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Cynthia Vicencio (G.R. No. 88202. December 14, 1998) are the decisions of the Supreme Court which may find application to your case.In the case of Padilla vs. Republic, the petitioner therein sought the change of surname of her minor children for her minor children to use the surname of her second husband considering that she remarried after her first husband was declared an absentee by the lower court. The High Court denied the petition and ruled in this wise:
“ x x x To allow said minors to adopt the surname of their mother’s second husband, who is not their father, could result in confusion in their paternity. It could also create the suspicion that said minors, who were born during the coverture of their mother with her first husband, were in fact sired by Edward Padilla, thus bringing their legitimate status into discredit. x x x”The High Court in the said case of Padilla quoted its decision in the case of Moore vs. Republic (8 SCRA 282), a case involving the same factual milieu: to wit:“Our laws do not authorize a legitimate child to use the surname of a person who is not his father. Article 364 of the Civil Code specifically provides that legitimate children shall principally use the surname of their father, and Article 369 of the same Code provides that in case of annulment of a voidable marriage the children conceived before the annulment shall principally use the surname of the father, and considering by analogy the effect of a decree of divorce, it is correctly concluded that the children who are conceived before such a decree should also be understood as carrying the surname of the real father.If a child born out of a lawful wedlock be allowed to bear the surname of the second husband of the mother, should the first husband die or be separated by a decree of divorce, there may result a confusion as to his real paternity. In the long run the change may redound to the prejudice of the child in the community. While the purpose which may have animated petitioner, the minor’s mother, is plausible and may run along the feeling of cordiality and spiritual relationship that pervades among the members of the family of her second husband, there is a legal barrier which cannot at present be overlooked or brushed aside. ...”
In the same way, the High Court denied the petition for change of surname, from “Vicencio” to “Yu” of Cynthia Vicencio who is already of legal age when she filed the said petition. Having the same factual background, it adopted its decision in the cases of Moore and Padilla as above-quoted. It further held:“ x x x “The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be ‘proper and reasonable cause’ for which the change is sought.”https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/dec1998/88202.htm-edn10 The assailed decision as affirmed by the appellate court does not persuade us to depart from the applicability of the general rule on the use of surnames https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/dec1998/88202.htm- _edn11, specifically the law which requires that legitimate children shall principally use the surname of their father https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/dec1998/88202.htm-edn12.It must be stressed that a change of name is a privilege, not a matter of right, addressed to the sound discretion of the court, which has the duty to consider carefully the consequences of a change of name and to deny the same unless weighty reasons are shown. https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/dec1998/88202.htm - edn13.Confusion indeed might arise with regard to private respondent’s parentage because of her surname. But even, more confusion with grave legal consequences could arise if we allow private respondent to bear her step-father’s surname, even if she is not legally adopted by him. x x x”Bearing in mind the foregoing jurisprudence, we are of the opinion that your daughters who are both of legal age cannot adopt the surname of their stepfather although they may file a petition for change of name if they have ‘proper and reasonable cause’ for it.Be that as it may, if you really wish for your daughters to use the surname of your second husband, the latter may validly adopt them in accordance with Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 provided that your second husband meets the minimum requirements as mentioned under Section 7(b)(ii) of the said law, which provides, to wit:“Sec. 7. Who May Adopt. — The following may adopt:(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. x x x(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, Further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:X x x(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouseX x x”We hope we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please take note however, that all the information contained herein are based on our appreciation of your questions. A different legal opinion may be given if other facts not included in your query will be discussed.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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"Legitimate child mandated to use father’s surname"
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