“I want to wear a name in which I find myself”: every year, thousands of French people seek to change their surname or that of their child, a complex procedure which could soon be simplified.

For Jessica, 32, it’s obvious: “I’m a Béraud,” she told AFP. His papers, however, show the name of “Rodrigues”, that of his father.

“He left when I was 18 months old, I grew up with the weight of his absence,” says the young woman, who wants to bear her mother’s name. “I would have the feeling of honoring my ancestors and finally being attached to my clan”.

His request, refused by the Ministry of Justice, could finally succeed thanks to a bill from a deputy of the presidential majority, which aims to allow any adult to change their name once in their life, by simple declaration. in town hall. The proposal will be considered on Wednesday in the National Assembly.

The ex-spouse of Nadège (assumed first name) declared the birth of their daughter under his name alone, while she also wanted to pass on hers.

Since her separation, she has custody of their child whose marital status could not be changed. Result: “I have to justify myself for being his mother all the time, I find it shameful”, testifies Nadège who “walks around with the family booklet”.

To facilitate the daily life of women in this situation, the “Porte mon nom” collective would like the mother to be able to add her name as the child’s name, without the father’s authorization, which is difficult to obtain during a separation. However, the bill provides that the agreement of both parents will be necessary and that a judge will decide, in the absence of agreement.

“It would take nothing away from the birth certificate, nothing from the filiation, it’s common sense”, defends the founder of the collective, Marine Gatineau-Dupré, mother of two children who do not bear her name, a situation at the origin of “little sufferings” on a daily basis, especially at school or during travels.

– “Unfair” procedure –

Valérie (assumed name), 50, experienced the same situation, after leaving her “mistreating” husband. “Before, we didn’t even ask ourselves the question of the name of the child, it was necessarily that of the husband”, she underlines. She is delighted to see the subject emerge in the public debate and that women’s voices are heard.

Her children, now students, would like to take advantage of the new law to attach her name to their surname: “the family scheme would be complete”, she describes, moved.

Currently, you must invoke a “legitimate reason” to change your surname in France (name difficult to bear, which risks extinction, etc.). Note that if you have a foreign name, it is possible to Frenchify it when obtaining French nationality, by submitting an application form to the Ministry of the Interior.

In 2020, 4,293 applications were filed.

Paid publication of the request in the Official Journal, explanatory letter to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice: the procedure, which lasts “sometimes several years”, is criticized by those concerned.

“I find it unfair that it is paid, public and that we question the legitimacy”, comments Émilie (first name). Discouraged by the process, she “regained hope” when she discovered the bill, which would apply from July, if approved.

The student wants to give up her surname because she has cut ties with her father, convicted of raping his stepdaughter. “This story caused a lot of suffering in my life, today I am better and what I build, I want it to be under my mother’s name,” she says.

Ludovic is at the dawn of the steps, “binding” in his eyes, to add to his papers the name of his mother, Le Moignic.

He has been using it for several years already. “It’s the name that has a story and a meaning for me”, explains this thirty-year-old to AFP, describing his links with his maternal family and the absence of contact with that of his father.

“You have to realize how important it is to have a name that suits you,” he says.



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