Let’s Talk About Changing Your Last Name

Congratulations, newlyweds! You’re off to start your life together by building wonderful memories, a family, and a home, to name a few. But before all that, one of the things that you should immediately address is the paperwork, the most obvious one being whether you should change your last name or not. Is it mandatory? The answer is: nope! It’s a common decision to change your last name, but it’s ultimately your choice whether you do so or not. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of making this change? Read on to find out!

[Photo: Toto Villaruel]

Taking your husband’s last name is generally seen as default and traditional in the Philippines. It also fulfills your younger self’s dreams when you doodled Mrs. [insert your crush’s name here] on your diary or notebook during class. This isn’t just for the romance though, there are practical benefits to it.

Legalities are easier. There are some instances when it is necessary to prove your marriage with your husband. Having the same last name will definitely make everything faster since most will assume that it makes sense for you to do that.

It establishes a sense of familial identity. You and your would-be family are one unit now, and for some, it’s appealing that you all have the same last name.

Admittedly, this is not a popular option, but just in case this thought has passed through your head, don’t think that you’re weird! It also raises awareness that women don’t have to be pressured to do this if they really don’t want to–changing your last name isn’t the foundation of your marriage.

It’s your brand. Sometimes, ladies don’t want to change their names because it’s business or profession-related. Your name is strongly tied to your brand, and you don’t want to lose that. That’s okay!

Your hubby’s last name sounds a bit awkward paired with your name. Kinda funny, but you totally have grounds not to change your name if you’re not comfy with how it sounds like! Remember, it’s not required–it’s your choice. And this shouldn’t make your hubby love you less!

Your maiden name is unique. Conversely, you have a lot of love and history with your current name. For you, it establishes a sense of identity, has a great story behind it, or you’re just attached to this part of you. Don’t let go of it if you don’t want to.

Hyphenating or appending his last name after yours can also be good idea. You get to keep your name and add his–it’s a win-win! You then can decide if the kids can take his or also hyphenate. The only downside would be having a very long name, but if you can live with that, then go for it.

Maybe he can change his last name! All the pros and cons stated above can also apply to the groom too, so if you guys both prefer one surname over the other and he wants to change it, then why not? It’s not a common practice here in the Philippines, but if you think about it, it’s the same banana, really.


Maybe it’s a lot to think about, or maybe you already know your choice to begin with, but it’s nice to be aware that you do have options, brides! Cheers to being a Mrs.!

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  1. Can my fiance change his surname into mine once we get married? is there any legal process? will it take too much of our time?

  2. What will be my middle name if I hyphenate my husband’s surname?
    Example, if my name is Rina Espiritu Fernandez when I wasnt married yet and I want to hyphenate with my husband’s surname which is Lopez, so that’ll be Rina Fernandez – Lopez, right?

    Will I still be using my middle name as Espiritu?

    1. If you will hyphenate your last name, your middle name will still remain the same. You name will be Rina Espiritu Fernandez-Lopez.

      1. Is it possible to drop my middle name and plainly use the hyphenated surname? Like, I will not have a middle name at all? Tia

  3. Finally! Your blog is really helpful. I and my husband decided that I should hyphenate his last name after mine so that I could still keep using my middle name. But I am worried because my name would be too long. If I would change my name in all my IDs would my last name be in the hyphenated form even though it would be too long?

    1. Hi Joyce, there might be a maximum number of characters depending on the type of ID. It will be best if you inquired directly with the agencies concerned to be sure. Thanks!

  4. What if my spouse is based abroad (meaning, he is currently working abroad), so i need to indicate his employer and the company’s address?

    1. Hi Camille, there might be additional requirements that you’ll need to submit. It’s best if you inquire directly with the agency involved. Happy planning!

  5. I changed name and using my husband’s surname and already have sss and driver’s license updated. What if I decided to change it to hyphenated instead and use it to renew my passport? what will happen?

    1. Hi Kim, I’m assuming that when you change your name in your driver’s license and other identifications, your passport will follow that format once you have it renewed. But it will still be best if you inquire directly with the agency involved to be sure. Thanks!

      1. Hello! I would like to know what are the steps in changing my last name? Do I just change all my IDs to my husband’s last name and that’s it? Or does the marriage certificate have to reflect my new name? Sorry totally new to all of these and also, my in laws were the ones who filed our marriage certificate abroad ☺️ thank you very much!

  6. Hi. I changed my name to a hyphenated one after I got married. I updated my passport, driver’s license, Philhealth ID, etd. But now, I just want to drop the hyphen and adopt my husband’s surname. Is it possible and how do I go about this?

    1. Hi Frances, you’d have to go through the same process again in order to change your surname. But just to be sure, you can inquire directly with the PSA office on what you should do. Thanks!

    2. I just renewed my passport, I used hyphenated, they warned me that I could not go back to adopting my husband’s surname if ever I want to.

  7. Hi! I really want to use a hyphenated name in all my IDs and documents. What happens to my middle name?

    Is this correct? Thank you for your feedback!

    1. Hi Dana, this is correct, but it will be best to double check with the government agency concerned. Ex: LTO for your drivers license, DFA for your passport, etc. This is to make sure that they allow such format.

  8. I plan not to change my name after marriage. How do I process my taxes and passport? Should I just bring my marriage certificate and tell them that my name stays the same?

    1. Hi Katie. There are no legal issues should you choose not to change your last name. Yes, others who have done the same advise you should bring a copy of your marriage certificate as well as always have a softcopy on your cellphone should it be needed. Thanks!

  9. What about maiden surname having hyphen? And want to add husband surname: Ila-og and Lopez. Is it okay to double hyphen: Ila-og-Lopez or Lopez-Ila-og? But still, kinda weird. But I really want to use my maiden surname and just add his’.

    1. Hi Rose, thanks for your inquiry! Based on RA386, a married woman may choose to retain her maiden name, hyphenate to add her husband’s surname, or use her husband’s surname as her own. From my understanding, a double hyphen does not fall under any of the 3 allowable options.

  10. How do i file to hyphenating my last name? i am about to get married I would like to know how to proceed in doing so.

      1. Hello, I already made some changes in my surname as we decided to hyphenate it. I already updated my SSS Philhealth and PAGIBIG. They accepted my hypenated surname aas well as my maiden middle name. But they asked me to provide government IDs reflecting my married name on top of the marriage certificate. (Since all my IDs are still reflecting my maiden name, they recommended me to get Brgy. ID).

        I am just worried if I have done the updates correctly and if it will be accepted in my drivers license and passport renewal. Can someone advise me if this is correct – Is my maiden middle name be retained as my middle name if I have hypenated surname?

        For example:
        Maiden name: Mary Lopez Mendoza
        Married name: Mary Lopez Mendoza-Cruz

        Will I still be using Lopez as my middle name? And last name is Mendoza-Cruz?

        Thank you for the help!

        1. hi ms. tin and alyssa,
          Im also planning to use hyphenated surname. Im already married last yr but did not update my name yet on my govt IDs. To use hyphenated surname do i have to go to psa first to get our marriage license as well as update them that ill use a hyphenated last name? Did you use hyphenated surname on your passport? Thanks.

          1. Hi Kimmy! You will need a copy of your marriage license when changing your name on your government docs. You can also consider ordering your marriage license online, so you don’t have to physically visit a PSA branch. Thanks!

  11. Hi! I was planning to have my name hyphenated. I just wanted to confirm the process. Would I just be asked of my preferred name to be registered on my ID’s together with the documents required?

    1. Hi KA, thanks for the question! The requirements and process/processing times differ depending on the ID. You can refer to this guide we prepared for the exact requirements.

      1. Hi. I am just happy that there is someone like you who help everyone understands that we women are not forced to used our husbands last name. Exactly, we have our choices. I am using a hyphenated last name. Before marriage, my partner and I already talked about it.

  12. Hi! Is it okay to change my last name but then introduce myself with our hyphenated last names? Everything legal I will use his last name. But in writing, I will use a hyphenated one. Is that possible?

  13. Hi,

    I just got married and planning to change my last name with my husbands last name. Can I keep my middle name and drop my maiden last name only?

    1. Hi C! We’re not sure of the regulations for dropping your maiden name, this may involve legal matters. You may need to do some research or check with the proper government offices for this. Thanks!

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