• According to the Law: How to Change an Illegitimate Child's Surname to his Father's

    The father's acknowledgment of paternity allows the usage of his surname by his child
    by Atty. Nikki Jimeno .
  • signing document

    Q:

    Dear Smart Parenting,
     
    How do I go about changing my son's family name into his father's? We are not married, by the way. Do we need to go through a DNA test to expedite the process? Do we need to have a lawyer, too? We want the legalities done so we could apply for our child's passport.
     
    Thank you very much,
    Marina

    A:

    Hi Marina! You’re in luck, because Republic Act 9255, an Act allowing illegitimate children to use the surname of their father, has made it possible and easier for an illegitimate child to bear the surname of the father.

    Before the enactment of this law, the Family Code specifically stated that an illegitimate child may only carry the surname of the mother. But RA 9255, otherwise known as the “Revilla Law”, named after the infamous senator who sponsored the law (and who also happened to father numerous children), now allows illegitimate children to use the father’s surname if the child’s paternity is recognized.

    RA 9255’s Implementing Rule and Regulations gives a detailed outline on the procedure to changing the surname:

    What you’ll need to prepare:
    1. Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF) - an affidavit to be executed by the father of the child, acknowledging paternity and allowing the child to use his surname

    2. Affidavit of Admission of Paternity or the Affidavit of Acknowledgment, executed by the father, admitting and acknowledging paternity over the child

    3. Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Live Birth of the child

    4. Valid identification for both parents

    Where to File:
    The AUSF, together with the other documents, shall be filed at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the child was born, if the birth occurred within the Philippines. If the child was born outside the Philippines, the AUSF shall be filed at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) of Manila.

    When to File:
    The AUSF shall be registered within twenty (20) days from the date of its execution, otherwise the procedures of late registration shall be applied.

    The LCRO will register the documents (the AUSF and the Affidavit of Admission of Paternity), and annotate them on the Certificate of Live Birth. Afterwards, the Birth Certificate will now bear the annotation: “ "The surname of the child is hereby changed from (original surname) to (new surname), pursuant to RA 9255."

    Be prepared to pay around P1,000-1,500 in fees at the LCRO. The processing time usually takes about a week or so at the LCRO, but the processing at the NSO after it has been forwarded to them by the LCRO can take up to two months at the most. But not to worry, the LCRO will already issue the certified copies of Certificate of Live Birth with annotations, and this should be enough for the application for your child’s Philippine passport.

    For this document to be filed, there is no need to undergo a DNA test, because all the law requires is the father’s express acknowledgement of paternity and his permission for the child to use his surname. You also don’t need to get a lawyer in order to file the annotation of the change of name with the LCRO. The only time you will need a lawyer is for the execution and notarization of the AUSF.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!

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    Atty. Nikki Jimeno

    Got legal questions? Send us an email at lei.smartparenting@gmail.com

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