The Italian courts have ruled that children should be given the surnames of both parents. It is a long standing tradition, across the world including the UK, that children are automatically assumed to be given the surname of their father at birth.

The court stated that it was “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of the child to be given only their father’s surname. It went on to rule that children should be given both parents’ surnames. However, parents can agree for their child to take only one surname if they wish. The new legislation is to be approved by the Italian Parliament, however the Family Minister for Italy has already indicated to be fully supportive of this move.

Families are made up of many parts and it is now commonly accepted that a wife may not take her spouse’s surname on marriage. It is now fairly common that the husband may wish to take the wife’s surname or even double barrel their surnames for their children. What this case does however is highlight the various choices available to parents in 2022. It confirms acceptance of the many different options available for parents and confirms that it should not be assumed that a baby should take the father’s surname.

Following this ruling, parents across the world may now reconsider the naming of their children, to include both parents surnames. It is important that discussions over names are made prior to birth and agreed upon. Changing the name of a child later requires both parties consent or as a last resort a court order.

At Ellisons we offer services to change the name of both children and adults, and our team would be happy to advise you on the process. If you wish to speak to a member of the team, please contact the team here.