How to legally change your name in the Philippines

There are various reasons people want to change names in the Philippines. Some may face ridicule because of their birth name. Others simply want to clear any confusion about their original names. Most women seek a name change in the Philippines after marriage to adopt their husband’s family names. And there are those who want to change their names to abide by the dictates of a new religion or simply to reflect a change in their lifestyle.

Whatever your reason, you can legally change your name. Under Philippine laws, a name has two parts – the first or given name, and the family name or surname. Middle names, which in the Philippines are traditionally the mother’s maiden surname, are not required but are often necessary for verifying your identity or in distinguishing you from others who have the same first and last names.

Different sets of rules apply to change your name. Here are some important pointers to consider to legally change your name:

 

Steps to Legally Change Your Name

 

Changing your first name

If the name change process involves your first name or nickname, day or month (not the year) of birthdate, gender, and correction of clerical errors of entries in Civil Registry document, the way to legally change your name is by filing a petition to change your name before the Local Civil Registry Office where the Civil Registry document (s) is registered, and can be filed by any person having direct and personal interest in the correction.

This is governed by Republic Act NO. 9048.

You may have your first name legally changed to the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) that has the documents bearing your original name. This often means the place where your birth certificate was issued. But if you currently reside in a different place, you may apply for a name change at the LCRO in your present area as a migrant petitioner.

The process of filing the petition to change your name under this law involves the following legal documents of to provide proof thereof:

  • Obtain or acquire the following documents:
  • Certified Copy Applicant’s Birth Certificate
  • Earliest School Records
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Clearance of no pending case or criminal record, which shall be obtained from the following:
    • Employer (if employed), NBI and Police.
    • Medical certification issued by an accredited government physician that the petitioner has not undergone sex change or transplant
  • Medical records
  • Children’s birth certificate

Note: Must provide only at least two (2) copies of the documents listed above.

Publication of petition in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality where the concerned Civil Registry document(s) is registered.

File the petition with the Local Civil Registry Office of the city or municipality where the record being sought is corrected or changed is kept/registered.
 

Changing your Family Name or Full Name

Changing your family name or married name is a bit trickier. You will need a court order, which you can obtain from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of your municipality/city. You need to file a petition detailing why you want to change your surname, as well as other required documents including those mentioned above for first name changes.

If the name change involves substantial name change such as,  i.e your full given name, your surname, name change after marriage, to change your name back after divorce or clerical or typographical errors in any entries in the Civil registry documents i.e., Certificate of Live Birth, Marriage Contract, etc., the way to change your name is by filing a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in the locality where you are a resident for three (3) years prior to fling.

This is governed by Rule 103 of the Revised Rules of Court.

No person can change his name or surname without juridical authority involving substantial changes (Article 376, Civil Code). A petition to change your name to a new name is a remedy that may be availed of by a person who seeks, with proper and reasonable cause, to replace his existing name to that which he desires.

If you want to change your name into a new name, you may petition to change your name if you’re at least 18 years old, and must show that the name change is necessary for any of the following reasons listed below.

The court recognizes the following as the proper and reasonable causes when seeking for a change of name:

a.    When the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
b.    When the change results as a legal consequence, as in legitimation;
c.    When the change will avoid confusion;
d.    When one has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage;
e.    A sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and
f.     When the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest

In your case, if your purpose or objective is present in the above mentioned causes, you can change your name by applying Rule 103.

You will be needing the service of a lawyer because the case shall be filed before the regional Trial Court of the Philippines (RTC), and this cannot be done before the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO).

For the petition for a name change, these reasons should be spelled out in an affidavit and presented to the LCRO along with a fee and other name change documents that include:

  • NBI Clearance and Police Clearance
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • School records/ Employment certificate
  • Valid IDs
  • Others that may be required by the Local Civil Registrar

After filing your application, this will usually take a few weeks to months to process depending on the case. Generally, you typically need to wait about one to four months for the petition to be granted, depending on the Local Civil Registrar.

Need further information and assistance? Talk to our team at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law to know more. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com for more information. 

A child born out of wedlock may use the father’s family name without undergoing a change of name, especially if the father issues an affidavit or a document recognizing parentage of the child. If you’re a mother and want to change a child’s surname to yours, you would need a court order, but the Supreme Court has previously ruled that a child’s change of surname may only be granted when they reach legal age and can decide on their own.

If you’re a woman who recently got married and want to officially adopt your husband’s surname on your official IDs, you will only need to comply with the “change of status” requirements and do not need a court order for that. Note that changing your family name when you get married is not a legal requirement, so for IDs like your driver’s license or passport, you might want to wait until they’re up for renewal so you can accomplish both changes of status and renewal in one go.

 

Cancellation of Entries or Substantial Name Change in Court

If the change involves substantial errors or cancellation of entries in the Civil Registry documents, the way to do is the by filing a petition before the Local Civil Registry Office where the Civil Registry document(s) is registered, and can be filed by any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the change or cancellation.

This is governed by Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court.

The process of filing the petition of cancellation of name change in court under this mode involves the following:

  1. File the Petition before the Regional Trial Court where the concerned Civil registry documents(s) are registered. The change name petition should include the Judicial Affidavit (direct testimony of the Petitioner and witnesses), and all evidence to be proven during trial (i.e. NBI Clearance. Birth Certificate, etc.)
  2. The Court, if it finds the change name Petition sufficient in form and substance, shall issue an Order directing the petitioner to have the Notice of Hearing be published in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3) consecutive weeks.
  3. The court shall set an initial hearing for jurisdictional requirement and to see if there will be any opposition to the petition.
  4. If during the initial hearing and no oppositor shall appear, the Petitioner shall be directed to present her/his evidence and prove her/his case.
  5. The case shall be set for trial for the petitioner’s presentation of evidence.
  6. Wait for the Decision.
  7. Have the Decision annotated at the Local Civil Registry Office where the concerned Civil registry document(s) is registered?
  8. Have the amended Civil registry document(s) forwarded to the Philippines Statistics Authority.
  9. The timeline for this option would depend on the schedule of the court. But it would take about a minimum of six (6) months to two (2) years for the court to process the change of name.

 

Who Should You Notify of Your Name Change?

For name change involving only your first name or nickname, you may file this on your own before the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO).

For name change involving substantial name change, change your last name, married name and correction of entries, you will be needing the service of a lawyer for this because the case shall be filed before the RTC, and this cannot be done before the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO).

The correct amount of filing fee shall depend on the case of the change of name petitioned before the court.

Need further information and assistance? Talk to our team at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law to know more. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com for more information.

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