How to legally change your name

When can I change my name?

It can be the first name, the last name or a combination of both: Not everyone is happy with their name, many would like to have a different name. legally change your name. For some people, their own name becomes so burdensome that they want to have it changed. Anwaltauskunft.de explains the conditions under which this is possible.

Around a quarter of parents regret the name they gave their child. This is what the name advice center at the University of Leipzig appreciates. Many people would also like to swap their own names for another. A name change is only possible under certain conditions – the legal hurdles are very high.

Apply for a name change at the registry office

If you want to change your first name or surname – regardless of a wedding, divorce, adoption, or the like – you have to apply for this. The local registry office or residents’ registration office is usually responsible. If it rejects the application, those willing to change can file an objection. If this is also unsuccessful, legal recourse is usually open to them. Anyone who is suing the registry office for a name change should definitely seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in name law. You can find a contact person in your area in our lawyer search.

Changing names is only possible for important reasons

But when can you even have your name changed? And which names can you choose if the name change request is successful? The Name Change Act (NamÄndG) regulates all aspects of the name change. If you want to change your name, you need important reasons.

Name change: personal interest versus public concern

These reasons must be so serious that the concerns of the general public take a back seat. Because society has an interest in ensuring that a name can be clearly assigned to a person. Criminals or debtors should also not be allowed to simply change their names in order to be able to hide.

“According to the NamÄndG, a typical reason is when a person is naturalized in Germany, but cannot continue to use his name here due to legal regulations,” says attorney Jens-Moritz Wolff, member of the Young Lawyers ‘Forum and the Dresden Lawyers’ Association. This can happen, for example, with families from Eastern European countries, where the surname for women is changed to a feminine form. This is not possible in Germany.

Under what conditions can you change your name? According to the general administrative regulation for the law on changing family names and first names (NamÄndVwV), you can also change your name if:

  • the first or last name appears so often in the person’s environment that there is a risk of confusion,
  • the name sounds ridiculous or offensive,
  • the person is disadvantaged by a particularly long or difficult name,
  • the person would like to have a more inconspicuous name after naturalization,
  • There are multiple spellings of a family name with “ß” or “ss” and the person may have difficulties abroad or
  • if the family name is rare or conspicuous and is associated with a crime in large groups of the population .

The surname can of course also change for reasons of family law and immigration law, for example in the event of a wedding or an adoption. In addition, there are some special cases in ancillary laws, for example in transgender cases or with the descendants of displaced persons.

When is a name change not allowed?

“The request for a name change will most likely reject if the change contradicts the organizational function of the first name,” warns the lawyer from Dresden. It would then no longer be recognizable from the name whether it is a woman or a man. So adding a female to a male first name is usually not allows.

A name change is possible, but not always allowed if a person has several first names and the third first name should come first. However, changing the surname is not possible if, among other things, there is a suspicion that a person is trying to avoid criminal prosecution or their creditors by using a new name.

When can I change children’s first names?

When it comes to changing the first name, the hurdles are a little lower than with the last name. This is especially true for babies. After the first birthday, it becomes more difficult again: first names of children older than one year and younger than sixteen can only change “for serious reasons in the best interests of the child”. This states in a general administrative regulation dated August 11, 1980. These reasons can be:

  • if a child, out of religious conviction, wants to prefix his first name with a first name given to him as a baptismal name,
  • Now if the name is so common that there is a risk of confusion, or
  • if a person has two nationalities or residences and therefore has passports and the spelling of the first name should adjusts in order to facilitate entry (for example with umlauts or “ß” in the name).

When can I change children’s surnames?

In some cases, parents just want to change their children’s last names. This is often the case after a divorce when the custodial parent takes their old name or remarries. “In such cases, the responsible office will weigh up what is more important: the child’s interest in having the same name as his new family or the connection to the other parent by name,” says lawyer Wolff. It will then decides on a case-by-case basis. According to NamÄndVwV, the family name of a child can also change if it permanently accepts into a foster family.

Legally Change your Name: which first name can you choose?

If you change your name, you can choose a new first name. This is made possible by the right to free development of personality according to Art. 2 of the Basic Law. Parents also have a choice when it comes to their child’s first name. But there are limits: As a new name, those not permit that could themselves justify a name change. For example, because they encourage pejorative puns or the likelihood of confusion is very high. Whether technical terms or fantasy names can choose is controversial.

So far, the courts have made different decisions. At least when it comes to the first names that parents give their children immediately after birth, the registry offices have become somewhat looser in recent years . For example, parents can call their daughter a bee, even if it is her only first name. A boy may name November next to a middle name.

Legally Change your name: which last name can you choose?

Even after changing your surname, you have a free choice – apart from the names that would justify a (further) name change. Only in rare cases does the children’s name change when the parents change their surname. However, children from the age of five can have a say when it comes to changing their surname.

Would you like to change your first name or surname, but the registry office has rejected your application? In this case, contact a specialized lawyer. They can help you choose the right course of action and assess whether legal proceedings are worthwhile. You will find the right contact person on the subject of naming law in our lawyer search.

Legally Change your Name : which first name can you choose?

If you change your name, you can choose a new first name. This is made possible by the right to free development of personality according to Art. 2 of the Basic Law. Parents also have a choice when it comes to their child’s first name. But there are limits: As a new name, those not permits that could themselves justify a name change. For example, because they encourage pejorative puns or the likelihood of confusion is very high. Whether technical terms or fantasy names can choose is controversial.

So far, the courts have made different decisions. At least when it comes to the first names that parents give their children immediately after birth, the registry offices have become somewhat looser in recent years. For example, parents can call their daughter a bee, even if it is her only first name. A boy may name November next to a middle name.

Legally Change your name: which the last name can you choose?

Even after changing your surname, you have a free choice – apart from the names that would justify a (further) name change. Only in rare cases does the children’s name change when the parents change their surname. However, children from the age of five can have a say when it comes to changing their surname.

Would you like to change your first name or surname, but the registry office has rejected your application? In this case, contact a specialized lawyer. They can help you choose the right course of action and assess whether legal proceedings are worthwhile. You will find the right contact person on the subject of naming law in our lawyer search.

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Post Author: Amir

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