Sunday, May 22

Society. Why it will soon be easier to change your last name

Changing your surname, a path today strewn with countless pitfalls in France. Every year, thousands of French people try to change their surname or that of their child. In 2020, 4,293 requests were registered, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. But only 44% of people who wanted to change their last name saw their request accepted.

A bill passed this week in the National Assembly could well facilitate the steps of these thousands of French men and women who, for various reasons, wish to change their surname.

Why is simplification necessary?

At the origin of this bill, we find in particular the collective “Wear my name”, which has long called for the automation of double surnames at birth. Its founder, Marine Gatineau-Dupré, explains that she has received numerous testimonials from mothers recounting the difficulties they face on a daily basis with their children who only bear the name of their father. “Small sufferings” that Marine Gatineau-Dupré, herself a single mother of two children, must also face, particularly at school or during trips.

To facilitate the daily life of women in this situation, “Porte mon nom” would like the mother to be able to add her name as the child’s name, without the father’s authorization, which is difficult to obtain during a separation. “It would take nothing away from the birth certificate, nothing from the filiation, it’s common sense,” defends Marine Gatineau-Dupré. His petition on collected 35,000 signatures.

Even today, most children born in France only bear the name of their father. A situation particularly linked to the fact that it is often the fathers who will declare their newborns to the civil status after birth.

“I have to justify myself for being his mother all the time, I find it shameful”, testifies Nadège to AFP. This mother explains that her former spouse declared the birth of their daughter under her name alone, while she also wanted to pass on hers. Today, she regrets having to “walk around with the family record book”.

Some women victims of domestic violence and separated from their mistreating spouses would also like to be able to get rid of the surname of their attacker more quickly.

Valérie, 50, experienced this situation after leaving her violent husband. “Before, we didn’t even ask ourselves the question of the name of the child, it was necessarily that of the husband”, she underlines. She is delighted to see the subject emerge in the public debate and that women’s voices are heard. Her children, now students, would like to take advantage of the new law to attach her name to their surname: “the family scheme would be complete”, she describes to Agence France Presse.

What does the law say today?

On Bear my name’s Twitter page, dozens of people testify in front of the camera of the shortcomings of the current name change law.

Today, it is indeed necessary to invoke a “legitimate reason” to change surname in France (name difficult to bear, name which risks extinction, etc.) Requests related to the absence of the father or the fact of not not wanting to bear the name of a violent ex-spouse are therefore much more difficult to accept.

Paid publication of the request in the Official Journal, explanatory letter to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice… The procedure, which can sometimes cost several thousand euros, is greatly criticized by those concerned. It also takes an average of six years for the modification of a surname to be effective.

“I find it unfair that it is paid, public and that we question the legitimacy”, comments Émilie, another woman wishing to change her name.

What does the bill provide?

If the bill is passed in the National Assembly and then in the Senate, the procedure for changing your surname should be greatly simplified from July 1st.

Indeed, it would allow all adults who wish to use the family name of their other parent – ​​the one that was not transmitted to them at birth. The text provides that everyone will have the possibility, once in their life, without justifying themselves to the administration, to change their name, by adopting or substituting the name of the mother, the father, by joining the two , or changing their order. All you have to do is fill out a simple administrative form (Cerfa) which you will then have to file with the town hall.

The text also aims to simplify the situation of children of separated parents. “Porte mon nom” wanted the mother to be able to add her name as the child’s usual name, without the father’s authorization. However, the bill provides that the agreement of both parents will be necessary and that a judge will decide in the absence of agreement. If the child is over 13 years old, he must also give his consent.

“The procedure remains very framed, it remains within the family framework. It will not allow the use of a fanciful name”, assures Patrick Vignal, deputy for La République en Marche and rapporteur for the bill. “The objective is that one of the two parents who has not given their name to the child can add it as a username. It can also be addressed to people who have particular names: Fourniret, Hitler, Abdeslam…”, explains the deputy for Hérault to our colleagues from West France.

The deputies will be called upon to vote on the text this Wednesday, January 26.

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