Now here is a valid question that newly-annulled parents often ask us. So we endeavored to gather the facts to try and answer this rather sad question (one of the saddest, if not the saddest). Our research led us to www.smartparenting.com.ph where the same question was raised and the answer was provided by one Atty. Nikki Jimeno. We just wish to acknowledge and give them credit for the insightful article they published on their website.
If the annulled couple’s marriage was proven to be void from the beginning, then their children are generally considered illegitimate. What this actually means is that in the annulment process, it was proven that the marriage that the ex-couple had was essentially fake – and it is as if they were never married at all. Therefore, their children are essentially born out of wedlock – illegitimate.
According to the Family Code of the Philippines, the following marriages are considered void from the beginning:
- Contracted by any party below 18 even with the consent of parents or guardians;
- solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform a marriage unless either or both parties believed in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so;
- solemnized without a marriage license except those expressly exempted by law to secure a marriage license;
- bigamous or polygamous marriages;
- contracted through mistake of one of the contracting parties as to the identity of the other;
- incestuous marriages as defined in Article 37 of the FC; and
- void marriages by reason of public policy (i.e. between step-parents and step-children, between adopting parent and adopted child).
If, however, the marriage was valid but was later declared void due to the psychological incapacity of one or both of the spouses under Article 36 of the Family Code, the children are still considered legitimate. This is because their parents’ marriage was legitimate, duly registered and acknowledged by the state and did not violate any provision in the Family Code.
Does my child need to drop his father’s last name after my annulment?
If you want your son to continue using his father’s last name, that is alright and permitted by law. Illegitimate children are permitted to use their father’s last name as long as the biological father acknowledged his paternity over the child. Only his birthright was affected by the annulment.
I want my child to be a legitimate child.
An unwed mother can adopt her own child and make his status legitimate, according to RA 8552 of the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998. You need to seek the father’s consent and he must be willing to lose his parental authority over the child. Essentially, your child will have to drop his biological father’s last name and use your maiden last name instead.