It’s very common to ask the woman you love “Will you marry me?” of course many women will say yes I do! But during your wedding preparation did you also ask your Filipino wife to be, “Do you want to keep your name?” Because you two are from different countries with different regulations on changing of the name for a married woman. You two have different perspectives on keeping the inherit family name. Maybe for you, it’s not important to keep the family name but for your partner, it’s an honor to keep the family name. Philippines and USA have different changing name regulation for a married woman that makes Filipino and American couple confusion about what to follow. In this post, we will discuss the difference of changing name regulation to the Philippines and the USA. Let’s get started.
What Is Your Middle Name After Marriage?
It is very common for a married woman to adopt her husband’s surname upon marriage. Majority of married woman chooses to carry the husband surname while some use hyphenated surnames for some reason. But the most common confusion is what the middle name of a married woman can be used especially if you two are from a different country with a different tradition carrying the name. This is interesting for Filipino and American couple and for other westerners. In the Philippines, once a woman marries, she automatically uses her maiden surname as her middle name and her husband last name as her new surname. For example, Janeth Albano Cardinal is your Filipino wife full name when she is single, as you can see her Middle name is Albano. Now your name is James John Smith. When you two get married Janeth will automatically drop Albano (middle name) and her maiden surname Cardinal will be her new middle name and your last name Smith will become her last name; her new name now is Janeth Cardinal Smith. Confusing isn’t it? But it makes sense because at least Filipino always keep their family name forever and this is their way to honor their family ancestry.
However Philippine changing middle name after marriage is much different how it works in the US, because in the US once a woman marries they don’t change their middle name, they will keep their middle name and dropped their maiden surname. For example, Katie Kate Coles and her husband name is Michael Hanes Grew. The new name of a wife will become Katie Kate Grew. That only means Katie will automatically lose her inherit family name Coles, which I think also hard to give up for those certain people who really value their family name. That’s why most women use hyphenated surnames to keep the family name of both sides. An example is Katie Coles-Grew. But in the Philippines, some celebrity, politician, professional and some rich famous people also used hyphenated surname because they don’t want people to get confused to their new identity that’s why they are choosing to use the hyphenated surname.
What Middle Name Will I Use If We Get Married In The USA?
The answer is “up to you” because the US doesn’t oblige migrated woman to follow the American middle name style. Let’s say for example myself. I did follow Filipino Style because I really value my family name and this is what we used to follow in the Philippines which is keeping the maiden surname as a new middle name after marriage. And if you want to follow the American Style it’s also not an issue but you have to know that American style can be contrary to Philippine law. It means if you follow the American middle name style and then you need to renew your Philippine passport you still need to follow the Filipino naming style to your PH passport, and even your child if they need to get a Philippine passport they will still follow the naming tradition in the Philippines that only means your child middle name to US passport and PH passport will going to be different but that’s ok because your child is dual citizen. And if you follow American style I’m sure the PH embassy already know what to do even if you didn’t follow the Filipino naming tradition style, all you have to do is submit important documents.
Whatever middle name style you want to follow make sure when you sign to a marriage certificate you gonna follow what you fill out there what I mean is you have to be consistent to what you sign from marriage certificate up to some legal documents for you to be able to avoid discrepancy to all your documents or having trouble in the near future. If you already write American style in your marriage certificate expect that when you apply for a green card you will need to follow it. Because sometimes USCIS base in your marriage certificate, i know somebody sign American style middle name in her marriage certificate but when she applied for Adjustment of Status she wants her maiden surname to keep as her middle name to put in her green card but USCIS didn’t allow her to do so because she already sign American middle name style in her marriage certificate and USCIS was only base on her marriage certificate. She needs legal documentation/lawyer if she wants to change her middle name because USCIS can’t change it so be very sure what middle name style you want to write in your marriage certificate once you get married in the US. But sometimes there are also certain people got lucky because USCIS don’t rely to the middle name in marriage certificate, but that is so rare, you still better to be careful to naming style you wanted to follow once you get married in the US.
Filipino Married Woman Only Change Civil Status Not Name
Huh? What do you mean? What I mean is if you two get married in the Philippines a Filipino married woman can only change her civil status but she has an option to add her husband surname or not. But once you already change your name to all your legal documents or government records like the renewal of passport for example or SSS, PhilHealth etc., you cannot get back to your old surname again unless you applied annulment, divorce, or death of your spouse. However in Article 370 of the Civil Code details that a married woman has an option to use the surname of her husband, which states:
A Filipino married woman may use:
(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname,
(2) Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname,
(3) Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”
As you can see the above Philippine law gives a married woman the option to use the surname of her husband. They do not oblige Filipino woman to change her name because of marriage it says “May use”. In the case of Maria Virginia V. Remo vs. The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs (G.R. No. 169202, March 5, 2010) The supreme court explained:
“Clearly, a married woman has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by Article 370 of the Civil Code. She is therefore allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370 but also her maiden name upon marriage. She is not prohibited from continuously using her maiden name once she is married because when a woman marries, she does not change her name but only her civil status. Further, this interpretation is in consonance with the principle that surname indicate descent”
Atty. Krizia Katrina Leanne D. Talon also explains this in an email exchange with GMA News Online. “Filipinos have this notion that once a woman marries, she should change her surname to that of her husband’s. We lose sight of the fact that when a woman marries, it’s only her civil status that changes, not her name, “she says.
“In fact, the law does not oblige a woman to change her name because of marriage,” Talon says. “The Civil Code gives the woman options on the use of her name and her husband’s after marries. It uses permissive language: it say’s ‘May’. So she may adopt her husband name, or just add it to her name, or she may not at all.
So if you’re Bertha Bautista, you can keep that name, or you can be Bertha Bautista-Filimon, Bertha Filimon, or Mrs. Greg Filimon.
The most important thing to remember is that you should be consistent, don’t switch between your last name and your husband.
You only get one legal name, so make it count.
Now you know the options of a Filipino woman after marries in the Philippines. They have options to use of her name and her husband, but as I said earlier the most common use or should I say Filipino notion to the Philippines is the first option which Filipino will automatically use the maiden name as middle name and use the surname of a husband. Once you choose what you want, you have to be consistent and use it forever, because you only get one legal name so make it count as Atty. Talon said, so please think carefully what option you want to choose. As I said earlier once a married woman started to use the surname of her husband in her passport, she cannot revert to the use of her maiden name again. If a married woman wants to get a passport using a maiden name, of course, the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) additionally requires the submission of an authenticated copy of a marriage certificate. The DFA will not prohibit her from continuously using her maiden name. Most Filipino also don’t change their civil status to all government records right away, they remain single for some reason but in the Civil register, of course, they are automatically registered as married so they have no choice but to change civil status once they decided to get a passport using the last name of their spouse. But most of the people I know automatically change their civil status after marriage, from the company they are working until government records because they are adding their husband as dependent especially to SSS and Philhealth. In my case, I’m still single to my SSS and other government records. I’m in the US so I can’t change my civil status right now to other government records but I will surely do it once I go on a vacation to my homeland. But I already change my civil status to my passport and I’ve chosen to use my maiden surname as my new middle name and my husband surname as my new last name. However, if you opted to keep your maiden name and don’t want to carry your husband surname please keep in mind that you might have to explain your situation if you choose to keep your maiden name because not everyone is aware that don’t have to change your name when you get married some government employees need to call their manager if there is a case like that because they are not aware to that kind of situation, maybe you better get a copy of an Article 370 of the Civil Code. and show it to them. lol!
Keeping the Last Name As New Middle Name Surely Satisfies Your Relatives And Parents
As I always said Filipino don’t give up the ancestor family name as an honor and love to our parents and whole clan. Keeping maiden name as middle name surely satisfies your relatives especially if you are the only daughter. Of course, what do you think your parents will feel most especially your father if you give up your family name, giving up your family name can feel like abandoning that heritage. That’s why choosing and keeping your maiden name as your middle is a great way to honor your past while honoring your commitment to your partner that your child can possibly inherit too in the future. Keeping family name is a great way to show that you are not forgetting where you came from isn’t it?
Is Using Maiden Name As Middle Name And Using Your Husband Surname Is Much Convenient And Better?
For me, yes, and using a maiden name as a middle name for a married woman becomes popular especially if they think that they really can’t give up their family name but can’t also just ignore their husband surname, so it’s win-win for the couples instead of dropping the maiden name of a woman. And if choose to use a hyphenating surname, do you think your child will not be wondered why their surname is different to other classmates and why their surname is double. I’m sure they will wonder but of course, everybody has their own preference to use. If you love your maiden family last name, consider using your maiden surname as a middle name as an option because this is the most practical way to keep your family name forever. But if you choose to keep your middle name and drop the maiden surname because you have an issue to your father then follow the American style middle name for a married woman. The Pros of taking your husband Surname are: It’s easier and simpler to have a same last name in the family especially if you have a child and you can feel more like a family and having a same last name and same middle name is a symbol of love to each other and good commitment. It’s also easier to recognize as one family when you go on a trip, dealing with schools and even when interacting with other people. No need to explain anything why you have different last name. The other thing is it is a good reason to get rid of your given last name if you find it funny or with ugly last name and remember you can have other option to get rid of your maiden last name. And last but not the least is people can easily recognize you as Mrs. wife of your husband.
Hope this post can help you if you have a question or any experience about the middle name after marriage don’t hesitate to comment down below.
Thanks a lot