Under the Family Code, a child is illegitimate if he or she was conceived and born to unwed parents. More specifically, the following are considered illegitimate children:
- Children born to couples who are not legally married or of common-law marriages (living together);
- Children born of incestuous unions and marriages;
- Children born of bigamous marriages;
- Children born of adulterous relations between parents;
- Children born of marriages void for reason of public policy under Art. 38 of the Family Code;
- Children born of couples below 18, whether they are married (which married is void) or not;
- Children born of other void marriages under Art. 15 unless otherwise provided.
A person is easily identified as an illegitimate child by the last name that he or she uses. Normally, an illegitimate child will only use his or her mother’s last name and will not be assigned a middle name (assigning the mother’s middle name will make him or her a younger sibling of his or her mother, instead of her child). But there was also a point in time when illegitimate children were allowed to use their biological father’s last name. There are actually a lot of illegitimate children who still use their father’s last names up until this time.
What are the guidelines that parents must follow when assigning a last name to their illegitimate child?
The truth is, there are two rules to be followed on the proper registration of illegitimate children and these are based on the year they were born. I lifted these facts from the website of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
For children born BEFORE August 3, 1988:
- Recognition or acknowledgement of an illegitimate child may be made jointly by the father and mother or by only one of them (Art. 276). If only one parent executes the recognition, the identity of the parent who did not acknowledge the child shall not be revealed. His or her name shall not be included neither shall the acknowledging parent state any circumstance where the other parent may be identified.
- The illegitimate child has the right to bear the surname of the parent recognizing him or her. However, if both parents do not acknowledge the child, the child shall be registered under the last name of the mother, in accordance with law (Opinion No. 147 s. 1986, Minister of Justice).
- Recognition shall be made in the record of birth, a will, statement before a record, or in any authentic writing (Art. 278, C.C.). If made on record of birth at the time of registration, the affidavit of acknowledgement printed at the bac of the certificate of live birth shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the parents of the illegitimate child, or only by the mother if the father refuses (Sec. 5, Act No. 3753).
For children born ON OR AFTER August 3, 1988:
- The child shall use the last name of the mother (Art. 176, F.C.) whether the father admits paternity or not.
- The name of the father of the illegitimate child may be indicated on the child’s birth certificate as soon as the father executes an affidavit of admission of paternity. The affidavit shall not affect the naming of the illegitimate child.
- The affidavit mentioned in item 2 shall become a permanent attachment of the child’s birth certificate. The birth certificate must then have a remark “With Attached Affidavit of Admission of Paternity” impressed with a rubber stamp at the upper left-hand margin and duly signed by the local civil registrar or authorized civil registry personnel.
- The policies on delayed registration of birth also apply to the registration of birth of illegitimate children.
If the child was born on or after August 3, 1988, can the child use his or her father’s last name if the father executed an affidavit of admission of paternity?
- Illegitimate children born on or after August 3, 1988 shall use the surname of the mother.
- If the father wishes to have his name indicated in the Certificate of Live Birth, he must execute an affidavit of Admission of Paternity instead of the affidavit of acknowledgement.
- The Admission of Paternity is for the support and succession only, it does not entitle the child to use the surname of the father.
- For a child born to a legally married couple, write the last name of the father;
- For a child born to a mother who is not married during a pregnancy and at the time of birth, the following rules shall apply:
- If the child was born on or after August 3, 1988, write the last name of the mother.
- If the child was born before August 3, 1988:
- Enter the last name of the father if both parents execute the Affidavit of Acknowledgement at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth.
- Enter the last name of the acknowledging parent if either the father or the mother alone acknowledges the child. In this case, no information should lead to the identity of the parent not acknowledging the child, that is, the space provided for the information about the parent must have “Not Applicable” or “N.A.” as entry.
- If no parent acknowledges the child, enter the last name of the mother.
There we go. I hope these information helped answer our questions on whether an illegitimate child may use his or her father’s last name. If you encounter a person who is an illegitimate child but is using his father’s last name, chances are, he was born before August 3, 1988 and the necessary acknowledgements were applied on his birth information.