CGMA and Senator Binay’s Bill Enables Wives to Drop Their Husband’s Surname

As the sayings goes, “Whatever God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” This stanza from the bible is what people frequently notice in wedding ceremonies. Being together is tolerable and manageable after the marriage, but settling blissfully and happily while married is another story. Couples who failed to be happy in their married life has no choice but to part ways, and so for some, it is not easy to drop the surname from their name if they are using it already for quite some time. This is especially if they’re using them for identification cards and official documents.

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There are many women who are still using their husband’s surname even if they’ve already been abandoned for a decade, suffered death, or separation; because doing so need a court order. However, if Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s bill will pass, dropping husbands surname will be easy. She filed a measure / bill which seek to empower women to revert to their maiden name even without judicial court order in cases of legal separation of marriage, presumptive death, and abandonment, separation of property or dissolution of marriage.

With the proposed measure, House Bill no. 6082, called “Reversion to Maiden Name Act”, a woman may revert to her maiden surname after a decree of legal separation, annulment of marriage, nullity of marriage or divorce in another country without going through a judicial process but only administratively through the Office of Civil Registrar.

According to Arroyo, her bill “deletes the tedious and expensive court process” associated with the reversion of their surname.

“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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

This bill allows a woman to revert to her maiden name under these circumstances:

After her marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;

Succeeding a judicial declaration of legal separation provided that there has been no manifestation of reconciliation filed with the court;

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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;

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. 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.

Arroyo added that women in this case just need to go to the Office of the Civil Registrar to dismiss their surnames’ name. Furthermore, for them to accomplish this without spending a lot of money

In the Senate, Senator Nancy Binay has filed the same bill that would make it easier for women; separated from or abandoned by their husbands;  to simplify the process by going through the local registry and no longer through a court. Binay filed on August 7, 2017, the Senate Bill No. 1547 or the proposed Reversion to Maiden Name Act. This identifies the grounds that would allow a woman to file a verified petition for reversion before the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where her record is kept.

“In accordance with the Constitution, this measure removes the difficult, costly, and unnecessary court processes that women have to endure in order to revert to their maiden name,” Binay said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The petition for reversion may be allowed in any of the following cases:

After a marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;

Succeeding a judicial declaration of legal separation; provided, that there has been no manifestation or reconciliation filed with the court;

After a judicial declaration of separation of property; provided, that 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.

They are tasking the Civil Registrar, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the Court Administrator to issue the necessary rules and regulations.

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