In Italy, children will no longer automatically acquire the father’s surname

In what honor should the child automatically perpetuate the father’s family line by adopting his surname? None, the Italian Constitutional Court answers.

The highest Italian court declared on Wednesday 27 April 2022 that the automatic attribution of the father’s surname to the children born, would henceforth be “illegitimate”, a “historic” decision, according to the newspaper The Republic.

Until now, Italians automatically took the father’s name at birth, while the mother kept her maiden name (if not married).

The automatic surname, now “constitutional illegitimacy” in Italy

Similar to that applied in France, this rule lives its last hours in Italy, since the Constitutional Court opposed it a few days ago.

“The Court declares theconstitutional illegitimacy of all the rules that provide for the automatic attribution of the father’s surname to the adopted children born in a weddingor out of wedlock. It will be the task of the legislators to regulate all aspects related to this decision ”, reads the press release issued by the high institute.

A decision acclaimed by Alessandra Mussolini, nephew of the dictator Benito Mussolini. Interviewed by the Italian newspaper The messengerthe one who wanted to give the name of her great-grandfather to her children said she had conducted a real obstacle course before the introduction of this rule.

“It took lawyers, economic expenses, emotional expenses, two decrees of the Ministry of the Interior, the authorizations of the whole family tree, a detailed report in which I explained the consent of the other relatives,” he listed in the national newspaper.

Until now, Italian women who wanted to give their surname to their children (unlike that of the father) had to have the authorization of the parent, while in the case of the automatic attribution of the surname the mother was not consulted.

Families cannot give their children only the mother’s surname, except in some cases, such as when the father does not want to be a part of the child’s life. New York Times. From now on, the baby will be born with both names and one can only be removed with the consent of both parents..

An evolution has begun in France, implemented in July 2022

In France, by the law of 4 March 2002, parents of a newborn can give it one of their names, if not both, by mutual agreement. In the absence of this choice and if the parents are married, the child automatically assumes the father’s surname. In case of cohabitation, the child takes the name of the parent who recognized him first, or that of the father, if the recognition took place at the same time.

From 1 July 2022, a parent can also add his or her name to that of the child, informing the other parent, and with the agreement of the child if he is over 13 years old, details An adult can also choose to bear the name of his mother, father or both.

According to Patrick Vignal, the MP behind the bill: in France, “eight out of ten children receive their father’s name at birth”specifies in the Public Service note.

An automatic assignment deemed “discriminatory” by the European Court of Human Rights

In the rest of Europe, this is a debate that has occasionally animated the courts. On October 26, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judged “discriminatory against women” the automatic attribution of the father’s name to the childeven in case of disagreement.

The court had been kidnapped by a Spanish woman who had seen her name told behind that of her ex-partner, who she had nevertheless left during her pregnancy for psychological harassment.

In Spain, children are born with two names: that of the father and that of the mother, yet “at the birth of the child, in 2005, the Spanish legislation provided that in the event of a disagreement between the parents, the child would bear the surname of the father followed by that of the mother ”, he specifies BFM TV last October.

As stated in the final sentence of the ECHR, the Spanish state was sentenced to pay 10 thousand euros to the mother of the family, for “moral damage and psychological suffering”.

Alongside our other European neighbors, Belgium, Greece and Luxembourg apply legislation similar to that of France.. In Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, on the other hand, the choice of the surname is up to both parents, but the double name is not allowed, recalls the Time for Equality association.

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