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Gloria files bill allowing women to get back maiden name after separation, end of marriage

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill that will allow women to revert to their maiden surname in case of legal separation, presumptive death, abandonment, separation of property or dissolution of marriage.

In House Bill 6028, Arroyo aims to give women the power to use their maiden surname after legal separation or dissolution of marriage without a court order.

Under the proposed measure, a woman may use her maiden surname after legal separation, annulment, nullity of marriage, or divorce in another country through only an administrative process with the Office of the Civil Registrar.

This will be allowed under these circumstances:

  • After her marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;
  • After a judicial declaration of legal separation, provided that there has been no manifestation of reconciliation filed with the court;
  • After a judicial declaration of separation of property, provided there has been no subsequent decree reviving the old property regime between the spouses;
  • If the spouses stipulated in their marriage settlement that a regime of' separation of properties shall govern their property relations;
  • If the petitioner has been de facto separated from or abandoned by her husband for a period of not less than 10 years; or
  • If the petitioner's husband may be presumed dead pursuant to the circumstances, periods and conditions set forth in the Civil Code of the Philippines and the Rules of Court.

Arroyo noted that while the use of a husband's surname is not mandatory, laws prohibit a woman from reverting to her maiden surname without a court order.

The case is the same in legal separation and separation of property regime.

“Despite the laws and jurisprudence on the matter, there is still an incomplete realization of the woman's right to continue using her maiden name. Domestic situations such as legal separation, separation de facto and such other similar instances are areas where women may still be required to recourse to a court process for change of name in order to revert to the use of their maiden name," Arroyo said in a statement.

"In order to truly realize the woman's right to use her maiden name, the present measure deletes the tedious and expensive court process that might be associated therewith,” she added.

The bill grants the Civil Registrar General, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Supreme Court Administrator the power to issue rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the measure.

“This measure proposes to [among others] facilitate women's right to revert to her surname in instances of legal separation, annulment or declaration of nullity of their marriage; [as well as] expand the scope of the civil registrar's power to change or correct entries in the civil register without a judicial order,” Arroyo said. —JST, GMA News