Choose your baby's surnames: new order in the Civil Code
Children born after June 30 maybe they no longer carry their father's last name, nor that of his paternal grandfather, nor that of his maternal great-grandfather. The family tree will change in that generation if the mother decides that her last name is the first in the Civil Registry. The entry into force of the new law of the Civil Registry will allow it.
The Current legislation requires that the first surname of the baby be that of the father, followed by the mother's. Spain is one of the few countries in which people have Two surnames, although it also happens in Portugal. However, the Lusos receive first the maternal surname and then the paternal one, and this is the one that prevails in the official documents and the one that the mother will later transmit to the son. Even so, your Civil Code allows you to choose if the baby will use one or two last names and their order.
Baby's last name: we can choose from 2000
Despite the novelty that this law represents and to assume a small step towards equality, since 2000, Spaniards can register the name of the baby with the mother's last name in the first place, although for this it is necessary to send a request to the judge in charge of the Civil Registry and a declaration of mutual agreement.
Now, the parents will have to state the order of the surnames in the application of the Civil Registry. Once the order in the surnames of the firstborn has been chosen, this will be the same for the other children of the couple.
The parents will have 72 hours to decide what the name and first name will be. If they do not reach an agreement or if they do not include it in the registration, it will be the official of the Civil Registry who chooses it and will not be able to prefix the father's by default, but will have to think in the best interest of the baby. However, the Ministry of Justice does not foresee that there are many cases of disagreement over surnames.
The last names of the baby in Europe
In the rthis of Europe, except for Portugal, it is normal for people to have a only last name and, in most cases, the paternal one prevails. There are some exceptions, such as the Swedish one, where order is chosen and, in case of discrepancies, it is registered with that of the mother.
Outside the peninsula, French can also decide what last name they want to transmit to their children, if the mother's, the father's, the two's and the order. However, until just over a decade ago, only the paternal surname was inherited.
His neighbors Germans choose the family name when they get married and this is the one that is put to the children when they are born. The custom dictates that the name of the family will be the husband, although the law allows them to opt for that of the woman or combine the two with a script. In the United Kingdom, women also adopt the husband's last name when they marry and this is the one that has their offspring, although they have complete freedom to choose.
In Belgium, the inheritance of the Napoleonic Code marked until recently that children would only bear a surname and would be that of the father. In 2014, the Justice Commission of the Belgian Parliament decided that it was time to leave behind the nineteenth-century reminiscences and chose to regulate that the registration will be registered by default with two surnames and leave freedom in the choice of order.
Very close to Belgium, In the Netherlands, parents can choose which surname to give their child, if the mother or father (and will be the same for other children), but in no case the two. However, if the parents are not married, the maternal one will prevail and only the paternal will be given if they expressly communicate it. This country contemplates the possibility of giving both surnames to the baby, but only in case of having a justified reason, which must be guaranteed by the king's signature. This case usually occurs in Spanish-Dutch couples and they are in luck, because having Spanish citizenship is a justified reason to ask King Guillermo to sign the application.
In Iceland is added the suffix are, for children, and dottir, for girls, to the name of the father. In addition, the Icelandic case presents a peculiarity, since these suffixes could only be added to the 1,712 masculine and 1,853 feminine names that exist registered in the country. However, this changed when Blaer Bjarkardottir sued the States for not letting him use his name, as he was not included in the official list.
The Finnish young woman is not the only one who has fought for their last names and there have been cases that have reached the European Court of Human Rights. Among them are Salonen v. Finland, 1997, Johansson v. Finland, 2007, or Burghartz v. Switzerland, 1994.
One of the most recent is Cusan and Fazzio v. Italy. The case dates back to 1999 when Alessandra Cusan and Luigi Fazzo were unable to register their daughter Maddalena with the mother's surname. The couple then started a litigation path to get.Some failed, arguing that the rule "corresponded to a principle rooted in social conscience and Italian history," others were more successful, as happened in 2012, and encouraged them to continue fighting.
Thus, in 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of the couple and forced Italy to change that custom because it was incompatible with the principle of gender equality and to act with "excessively rigid" guidelines. The Constitutional Court of Italy declared unconstitutional the norm that automatically gave the paternal surname in 2016. Since then, the Italian children can carry the surname of the mother.
Noelia Fernández Aceituno