< All Topics

N. Use-of-surnames

1. CHILDREN

a. Legitimate children

Legitimate children shall principally use the surname of the father. (Article 364. Civil Code)

b. Illegitimate children

GENERAL RULE: Legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. (Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: Illegitimate children referred to in Article 287 shall bear the surname of the mother. (Article 368, Ibid.)

Cross-referenced articles

Illegitimate children other than natural in accordance with Article 269 and other than natural children by legal fiction are entitled to support and such successional rights as are granted in this Code. (Art. 287, Ibid.)

Only natural children can be legitimated. Children born outside wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, are natural. (Art. 269, Ibid.)

c. Adopted children

An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. (Article 365, Ibid.)

d. Natural children

1) If acknowledged by both parents

A natural child acknowledged by both parents shall principally use the surname of the father. (Article 366, Ibid.)

2) If acknowledged by one parent only

If recognized by only one of the parents, a natural child shall employ the surname of the recognizing parent. (Ibid.)

3) By legal fiction

Natural children by legal fiction shall principally employ the surname of the father. (Ibid.)

e. Conceived before annulment decree

Children conceived before the decree annulling a voidable marriage shall principally use the surname of the father. (Article 369, Ibid.)

2. MARRIED WOMAN

a. Options for married woman

A married woman may use:

1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or

2) Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname or

3) Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”(Article 370, Ibid.)

b. Annulment

1) Wife is guilty, revert to maiden name

In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. (Article 371, Ibid.)

2) Wife is innocent, options

If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may choose to continue employing her former husband’s surname, unless:

1) The court decrees otherwise, or

2) She or the former husband is married again to another person. (Ibid.)

3) Legal separation

When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before the legal separation. (Article 372, Ibid.)

4) Widowed

A widow may use the deceased husband’s surname as though he were still living, in accordance with Article 370. (Article 373, Ibid.)

3. IDENTITY OF NAMES AND SURNAMES

a. Younger person, additional name or surname

In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion. (Article 374, Ibid.)

b. Use of junior, Roman numerals

In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants, the word “Junior” can be used only by a son. Grandsons and other direct male descendants shall either:

1) Add a middle name or the mother’s surname, or

2) Add the Roman Numerals II, III, and so on. (Article 375, Ibid.)

4. JUDICIAL AUTHORITY FOR CHANGE OF NAME OR SURNAME

No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority. (Article 376, Ibid.)

5. USURPATION OF NAME AND SURNAME

a. Action for damages and other relief

Usurpation of a name and surname may be the subject of an action for damages and other relief. (Article 377, Ibid.)

The unauthorized or unlawful use of another person’s surname gives a right of action to the latter. (Article 378, Ibid.)

6. PEN NAMES OR STAGE NAMES

The employment of pen names or stage names is permitted, provided it is done in good faith and there is no injury to third persons. Pen names and stage names cannot be usurped. (Article 379, Ibid.)

7. PROHIBITION ON USING DIFFERENT NAMES AND SURNAMES

Except as provided in the preceding article [on pen manes and stage names], no person shall use different names and surnames. (Article 380, Ibid.)

Previous M. Summary Judicial Proceedings in the Family Code
Next O. Absence
Table of Contents