It’s customary in the Philippines and, perhaps, anywhere in the world, for a married woman to use her husband’s surname. In fact, when a woman gets married, the people who know her already assumes that her surname is now that of her husband’s. Nowadays, however, there are already a lot of women who decided to keep their maiden name. Unfortunately, some husbands get offended when the wife chose to keep her maiden surname. We hope that we can enlighten both men and women here.
When a Filipino woman gets married, she has four options under Article 370 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Let’s suppose that Jane E. Dela Cruz is married to John F. Cruz. Jane may use:
1. Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s name (Ex: Jane E. Dela Cruz-Cruz).
2. Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname (Ex: Jane D.C. Cruz).
3. Her husband’s full name but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.” (Ex: Mrs. John F. Cruz).
4. Her maiden name (Ex: Jane E. Dela Cruz). This last option is not indicated in the cited provision. The use of the word “may”, however, indicates that she may choose to keep her maiden surname.
In the 2010 case of Maria Virginia V. Remo v. The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court cited its decision in the case of Yasin v. Honorable Judge of Shari’a District Court (1995) where it was explained that the law gives a married woman the rights to use her husband’s surname without need of a judicial decree and to revert to the use of her maiden name when the marriage ties no longer exists by virtue of death of husband, annulment or nullity of marriage because when a woman marries, she only changes her status.
Therefore, the use of the husband’s surname is merely an indication to the world of her marital status and not a change of her name or identity.
Will the use of her maiden name despite marriage lose her marital status? No, it does not unless the husband dies or the marriage gets annulled or nullified by the court. The Certificate of Marriage is enough proof of her marital status.
We hope we have enlightened everyone (both men and women) on this matter.