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Can you call your child “Joyful”, “Sun”, “Titeuf” or Mohamed? Can we give him an invented first name, or one that can make you laugh?
Yes, if it does not harm the interests of the child.
The principle is freedom of choice of first name, but with limits. The first name chosen alone or associated with other first names or the family name, must not be contrary to the interests of the child or prejudicial to the rights of third parties, to have their family name protected. In fact, the first name should not be derogatory, ridiculous or complex. Some original first names were accepted, such as “Sun” or “Tokalie” because it was deemed that they were neither ridiculous nor pejorative, but “Patriste” and “Joyeux” were refused. The first name must also be written in French and conform to the Roman alphabet.
Who carries out the assessment of the first name?
The assessment of the first name is subjective and is done on a case-by-case basis. The civil registrar of the town hall collects the declaration of birth from the parents and must enter the first names chosen by the parents. If he considers that a first name is contrary to the interests of the child, he immediately informs the Public Prosecutor. The latter in turn examines the situation and may decide to refer the matter to the family court judge, if necessary. If he agrees with the Public Prosecutor, he orders the removal of the first name from the civil status register. He then assigns the child another first name which he determines himself if the parents have not chosen a new first name in accordance with the interests of the child.
Société d’Avocats DAMY, Nice, Are we free to choose the first name of our child? 2022 Update