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Naming a child in France

 Baby names France

One thing you need to know about naming a child in France is that if the registrar thinks the name chosen could be “detrimental to the child’s interests” he or she has the power to refuse to confirm the name legally.

In this case the registrar will refer the matter to a local prosecutor and it may then be referred to court for further consideration and a legal ruling.

This is rare but there have been several high profile court cases in recent years where registrars have taken this route. In early 2012 a court ruled against a couple who wanted to name their son “Titeuf”, – a popular French cartoon characters. The regional newspaper Ouest France reported that judges said that Titeuf, the cartoon character is “a sympathetic caricature designed to make people laugh on the grounds of his naivety and the ridiculous situations he finds himself in.” They ruled that to call a child by this name would almost certainly “attract mockery” and could risk “constituting a real handicap for a child becoming an adolescent and then an adult, as well as his personal and professional relationships.”

In a case the year before, a registrar rejected the name “Dameon” . The parents liked the name “Damon” from the TV Vampire series and the “e” was added to make it seem more French. The court dismissed the prosecutor’s claims that the name would be contrary to the interests of the child.

To effect a name change, a request can be made before a court (juge aux affaires familiales), in which the requesting part must prove that there is a legitimate reason for the change – normally that will rely on the current name causing mockery.

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