What’s In A Last Name: What Last Name to Give Your Child if You are Not Yet Married to His Father


Of all the questions and clarifications we regularly receive through this blog, changing the last name of an illegitimate child tops our list.  These questions often come from single moms who either:

  1. Gave their maiden last name to their illegitimate child and now wants the child to use the last name of the biological father;
  2. Gave their maiden last name to their illegitimate child and now wants the child to use the last name of the adoptive father;
  3. Gave the biological father’s last name to the illegitimate child and now wants the father’s last name dropped from the child’s name and replace it with her last name.

Today’s blog shall focus on these three circumstances and how the processes of achieving the desired results differ from each other.  If you are about to become a single mom, this article may help you in deciding whose last name your child should carry.

What does the Family Code say about illegitimate children?

According to Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, illegitimate children are children conceived and born outside a valid marriage (Art. 164).  Under the same E.O., illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother. (Art. 176).

In 2004 however, Article 176 was amended by virtue of R.A. 9255.  The new law allows illegitimate children to use the surname of their biological father, provided that the father acknowledges his paternity over the child.

How does this new law affect the three cases of changing the last name of illegitimate children?

Before R.A. 9255 took effect, an illegitimate child shall carry its mother’s last name (while the middle name field is left blank) until the biological parents marry and the child is subsequently legitimated.  With the amendment of Article 176 (of R.A. 209), single mothers (and fathers!) now have the option to have the child carry the biological father’s last name in their birth certificates.

a. If an illegitimate child, carrying his mother’s maiden last name, wants to start using his father’s last name, he needs to execute a document, private or public, where he is recognized by his father as his child.  Such documents may be:

  • The affidavit found at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth (COLB); or
  • A separate PUBLIC document executed by the father, expressly recognizing the child as his.  The document should be handwritten and signed by the father; or
  • A separate PRIVATE handwritten instrument such as the Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF).  Note that the AUSF is used when the birth has been registered under the mother’s surname, with or without the father’s recognition.

b. If an illegitimate child, carrying his mother’s maiden last name, wants to use the last name of his adoptive father.

  • This shall follow the process of legal adoption.

c. If the single mother wants to drop the last name of the illegitimate child’s biological father from the child’s birth certificate.

  • This is a relatively new scenario that may have surfaced after R.A. 9255 took effect.  When unmarried parents decide to let the child use the father’s last name and then separate later on, the single mother may soon decide that her child’s birth certificate is better off without her ex-partner’s name on it.
  • This case needs to undergo court hearing and the results are entirely dependent on how the proceedings will go.  This may also entail more costs, time, and effort before a favorable result is achieved.

While the said amendment gives parents the liberty to let their illegitimate child carry the biological father’s name (or any other man’s name for that matter, as long as he is willing to let his last name be used by the child), it also opens opportunities for problems on the child’s birth certificate when the mother and the father do not end up marrying each other.  Keep in mind that after a child’s birth certificate has been duly registered at the LCR and a copy has been released to the PSA, any changes, especially those affecting the child’s last name, may prove to be more complicated than we would care to admit.

What is a single parent’s best recourse in order to avoid problems on the child’s last name?

If we are to base our answer on the above scenarios, then the best option would be for a single mother to simply let her child use her maiden last name, sans the middle name.  This leaves enough room for changes later on, minus the hassle of a court order.

a. If the child is using his mother’s maiden name, he can easily adopt his biological father’s last name in case his parents marry later on;

b. If the child’s mother marries a different man, the stepfather may simply adopt the child and give the child the legal right to carry his name.  Without adoption, the child is free to carry his mother’s maiden last name.

This is merely a personal opinion based solely on the numerous cases of dropping the last name of an illegitimate child due to unforeseen circumstances between his unmarried parents.  You are free to choose the option you deem best and applicable to your situation.  As an additional option, consider it best to consult a lawyer who may be able to provide you with professional advise on your situation.

Reference: http://www.psa.gov.ph

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27 thoughts on “What’s In A Last Name: What Last Name to Give Your Child if You are Not Yet Married to His Father

  1. hi paano po if ang name name is MARIA VICTORIA G. GONZAGA, tapos ang nasa NSO ay MARIA lang, pero may affidavit na dpat ay MARIA VICTORIA G. GONZAGA? pano po yon e file

  2. Tanong ko lang po kung ano ang pinakamadali gawin sa birth cert ang anak ng aking asawa kasi po gusto ko isunud ang apelyido ko sa anak nya. Single mom po sya bago kame ikasal bale ang apelyido ng bata ay nakapa ngalan sa kanyang nanay. anu po ang aking gagawin? Maraming salamat po!

  3. Same lng po b requirement ng legitimation by subsequent marriage and plain acknowledgement ng father? which is easier to file.

  4. Hindi kami kasal ng ama ng anak ko pero gamit nya apilyido ng tatay nya. Alm nman ng ama nya. Hindi b mag kkaroon ng problema ang anak ko in the future. Ok lng b n ang anak ko n ang gawin kong benefiary instead n magulang ko. Khit hindi kmi mag ka apilyido.

    1. Wala namang problem kung surname ng tatay ang gamit lalo nat acknowledge naman siya nung father nya. wala ding problem kung siya na yung gawin mong beneficiary kahit magkaiba kayo ng apelyido.

  5. Hello! Itanong ko po sana regarding sa case ng bf ko. May mga unang anak po kasi sya sa ex- gf nya ( hindi sila kasal ), apat na bata lahat naka apelido sa bf ko. After ilang years nabulgar ung sikreto ng ex gf nya na iyon palang dalawang bata ( 2nd and 4th child ) ay hindi pala nya anak. Para makasigurado, nagpa DNA pa si bf ko, kaya napatunayan na hindi nga sya ang ama ng dalawang bata. Ngayon po ang scenario, ginigipit sya ng ex gf nya dahil sya daw ang naka apelido sa bata, naka acknowledge sya sa b.cert, pirmado ni bf. Para maayos na din lahat pati s beneficiaries at insurance ni bf, at para sa ikatatahimik din namin mula sa panggugulo ng babae, gusto na ni bf na idrop ang surname ng dalawang bata knowing na hindi nya pala ito tunay na mga anak. Ang nababasa ko lang po kasi na process is pag ang mother ang gusti magbago/magdrop ng apelido ng acknowledging father. Pano naman po pag ang father mismo ang gusto nang alisin ang apelido nya sa mga bata? With DNA test proof po

    1. Hi Karim,

      Kung aalisin ang apelido ng tatay sa birth certificate ng mga bata, maituturing ito na change in last name. Ang pagpapabago ng last name ay kailangang dumaan sa court proceeding. Pwede kayong mag inquire sa isang family lawyer kung papano ang proseso dito at kung magkano ang magagastos.


  6. hello po. may tanong lang po ako. kasi nagkaroon kami ng gf ko ng anak noong 2013. sa bicol nya ipinanganak ung bata tapos ako nandito sa cavite. hindi ako nakapirma sa affidavit of acknowledgement kasi kapos kami sa pera para makauwi ako sa bicol. tapos kinaumagahan, nalaman ko na pinasa na nila ung certificate of live birth kasi kelangan na nila umuwi sa barangay na tinitirahan nila. malayo kasi ung hospital na pinag anakan niya. ngayong 2017, magaaral na ung anak ko kasi dito na sila nakatira sa bahay namin. ang problema ung surname ng nanay ang gamit niya. kelangan pa po ba naming pumunta dun sa hospital sa bicol para makapirma ako sa affidavit of acknowledgement o may iba pang paraan? patulong po asap. thanks.

  7. may anak po ako, ang gamit po niang m.name and s.name ay sa akin,, 2003 hindi pa kame kasal ng father nia,,, 2015 lang po kame kinasal… anu po bang gagawin namenpara maisunod sa father nia ang name nia?? ty po

  8. Ndi po aq kasal s ama ng 3 nming anak pero apelyido po ng ama nila ang gamit ng mga anak nmin. 29 yrs n po kmi nagsasama. Ang prblma q po kc “kasal” kmi s mga birth certificate ng mga bata. Ano po dpt q gwin kc kasal s una ang ama ng mga ank q. Ndi nmn po rehistrado ang marriage contrct nmin. Need q po p din b cia pagawain ng declaration letter?
    Maraming salamat po

  9. during the time i gave birth to my daughter, i was young.. i filled up her birth certificate.. since i do not know about the laws.. i put on her middle name same as mine.. what should i do now? since she is also using my middle name, how can i amnend it? where should i go to ammend it?

  10. Ano po pwede kong gawin dahil nalaman ko po na pineke / ginaya ng ex-gf ko ang pirma ko sa birth certificate ng bata.

      1. Opo apelyido ko gamit ng bata. Marami po kc nangyari sa relasyon namin panget man sabihin pakiramdam ko hindi ako ang ama ng bata. 2 buwan pa lang syang buntis naghiwalay na kami, Nalaman ko na lang na umuwi na pala sya sa pilipinas, nawalan na ako ng balita sa kanya. Common friend namin nag sabi sa akin na apelyido ko ang gamit ng bata at may pirma daw ako sa birth cert. ng bata. Wala akong pinirmahan na birth cert. dahil nandito ako sa ibang bansa. Forgery na po yon ginawa nila at hindi na po tama yon.

      2. Pwede mo i contest yan. Mas maganda mag usap muna kayo para iwas gastos at iskandalo na din. Pero kung hindi kayo mag kakaayos i ko korte nyo na yan.

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