No doubt, brides-to-be are busy bees. Tons of preparations need to be taken care of before the BIG DAY, and it's deceptively easy to get lost in the sea of wedding to-dos. Sometimes, the "fun stuff" like picking the perfect gown, the perfect venue, the perfect caterer, and the perfect wedding theme could take precedence over the "boring, legal ones," such as deciding on your married name and taking care of legal documents for instance. Are these things even included in your to-do list?
If not, don't worry, there's no need for a panic attack. Changing your civil status may seem like a chore, but updating legal documents could be quite easy. Our tip? Set aside a day or two (or three) to update all your legal documents, so you’ll be able to finish your legal obligations all in one go. Here's a rundown of things that you should work on:
1. Update your SSS membership records.
Since you're changing your civil status, you need to pay the nearest Social Security System (SSS) office a visit to change your records. You need to accomplish the SSS Form E-4 (also known as the Member's Date Amendment Form), update your civil status by ticking off the "Married" box, and fill in your married name, should you wish to forego your maiden name. Here's a link to an actual copy of the E-4, so you can have a better idea of what we're talking about.
Make sure you have original and photocopies of your marriage certificate, which you will present upon submission of the SSS Form E-4. You need to bring the original copy for authentication purposes, while the photocopy should be submitted along with the updated Form E-4.
If you don't have a copy of your marriage certificate yet, you can request a copy from the National Statistics Office online. Just fill up the online application form and provide the details below:
• Number of copies you are requesting
• Name of husband
• Maiden name of wife
• Place of marriage
• Date of marriage
• Date of registration (if the marriage certificate was late registered)
• Purpose for request
If you've unfortunately lost your marriage certificate, you can submit a Certificate of Loss or Non-availability (which you could get from the Local Civil Registrar office in the city where you were baptized) plus two secondary documents. The official SSS website has a pretty exhaustive list of the secondary documents that you can submit, and you can take a look at them by clicking this link.
2. Renew your passport
If you’re planning to ditch your maiden name, then you have all the more reason to renew your passport as well. You can go online to secure an appointment for your personal appearance, choose your preferred date and time, check your e-mail for your reference number, and print your application form. Make sure to bring original and photocopies of your marriage certificate, along with other requirements, such as your old/current passport and birth certificate. You have the option to go to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office at ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque City (which is near SM Mall of Asia) or to any of the DFA satellite offices here in Manila. You can head here for a complete list of the satellite offices.
3. Update your PAG-IBIG records
You should also pay a visit to PAG-IBIG to update your records. Request for a Member’s Change of Information Form (MCIF) at a PAG-IBIG office near you, fill up the form, and submit it along with a photocopy of your marriage and birth certificates. Here’s a link of MCIF for your reference:
4. A word of advice
Before you make trips to various government agencies and proceed to updating tons of paperwork, make sure that you thoroughly think of the surname that you intend to use after you tie the knot. While we Pinays have three different options when it comes to adopting surnames (will you take your husband's surname, opt for the hyphenated one, or simply retain your maiden name) we should also be conscientious enough to just stick to one surname. As such, if you intend to keep your maiden name, then you better make sure that all your updated records make use of your maiden name. In the same way, you should consistently use your new married name, should you wish to adopt your husband’s name instead. That way, you won’t worry about facing legal entanglements later on.
(Photo by M.G. Kafkas via Flickr Creative Commons)