You can of course choose the first name or names of your child yourself. However, the official at the civil registry may refuse the first name in certain cases:
- if you have chosen a first name which leads to confusion (for example, if you choose a typical girl's name for a boy or vice versa)
- if the name of the child can cause injury (for example, if you choose a ridiculous, absurd or offensive name)
- if the name can damage others (for example, if you choose an existing surname as your child's first name)
If the official from the civil registry refuses a first name and you wish nonetheless to keep it, you can lodge an appeal with a civil court. For more information, you can contact the civil registry of your municipality.
What about the family name? Since 1 June 2014, children no longer automatically receive the family name of their mother or father. As a parent, you now have a free choice. You can choose the father's family name, the mother's family name, or a combination of both, in the order you choose. All joint children must have the same family name, and you cannot change your mind later on.
If there is disagreement, the child will have the family name of both parents in alphabetical order. For more information about family names, you can contact the civil registry of your municipality.
You can read about the legislative amendment in the Crossroads Bank for Legislation.
- For more information, you can also contact the civil registry of your municipality.
- In the booklet 'Wegwijs in werk en ouderschap' (Tips for work and parenthood) from the Federal Government, you can read about your rights and obligations as a new parent at work.
- Kind en Gezin offers various publications to guide you in your role as a parent.
- For French speakers, the Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE) provides a whole range of information booklets (website only available in French).
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