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Use of Surname by Illegitimate Children

Use of Surname by Illegitimate Children

Foreign Service Circular No. 32-98 provides that illegitimate children shall use the surname of their mother only. Middle name is unimportant and its omission has no legal effect. However, there are two instances when an illegitimate child may use the surname of the biological father, or when the child’s surname that may have been earlier registered following the mother’s surname can be amended to reflect the father’s surname.  The two instances are:

1. Republic Act No. 9225.  Under this Act, illegitimate children may use the surname of the father provided the latter makes an admission in a public document (e.g., affidavit) or private handwritten instrument that he is the father of the child, and consents to the use by the child of his surname; and

2. Legitimation of children born out of wedlock.  Republic Act No. 9858 “Legitimation of Children Born to Minor Parents” amended Article 177 of the Family Code as of December 20, 2009. The article now reads:

“Children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, or were so disqualified only because either or both of them were below eighteen (18) years of age, may be legitimated.”

In simple terms, a child conceived or born when either or both parents were below 18 can now be legitimated; minority is no longer an impediment or legal obstacle. (Previously, biological parents who were below 18 could not avail of legitimation for their child; their legal remedy was to go through an expensive adoption process.)