I recently added a friend over at Facebook after about months of her invitation pending. Why? First, I forgot her already since we knew each other only from our early elementary years; second, her pretty face did not bring a familiar face in my memory bank; and third, I did not recognize her hyphenated surname. I was only able to add her when my cousin told me she was his girlfriend and he reminded me that we were once classmates. When I read my cousin’s message, I checked her name again. Why the hell did she use a hyphenated name when she was still single? She wrote her first name and hyphenated her middle name with her surname. Aigoo!
This isn’t the first time that I’ve encountered persons using the hyphenated surnames incorrectly. I even notice men using hyphenated surnames presumably using the surnames of their mothers. Gawd.
In the Philippines, only married women can use hyphenated surnames. The children of the women who carry hyphenated surnames cannot use the hyphenated surnames too – the children will have to carry the surname of the father.
Under Article 370 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, a married woman may use:
(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or
(2) Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname, or
(3) Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”.
The situation in number 1 is what we call the hyphenated surname. If Maria Santos marries Mario Delacruz, she may opt to use Maria Santos-Delacruz after the marriage. In the case of number 2, she will be Maria Delacruz. In the last situation, she will be Mrs. Mario Delacruz (thus the commonly used Mrs. Maria Delacruz is totally wrong, it irritates my ears when I hear it).
Since the wording in Article 370 is “may” and not “shall”, the Supreme Court has ruled that the three options are not obligatory and it is not the duty of the married woman to carry her husband’s surname. By all means, the woman can retain her maiden surname because as the High Court says, the effect of marriage is only a change in the civil status and not in the change of name [updated 2/15/10].
Since I’m already on surnames, here are some interesting laws on Surnames under Philippine Law as well:
Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may choose to continue employing her former husband’s surname, unless the court decrees otherwise or she or the former husband is married again to another person.
Art. 372 When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before legal separation.
Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased husband’s surname as though he were still living, in accordance with Art. 370.
Art. 374. In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion.
Art. 375. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants, the word “Junior” can be used only by a son. Grandsons and other direct male descendants shall either: (1) Add a middle name or the mother’s surname or (2) Add the Roman numerals II, III, and so on.