If parents can’t decide, civil servants will choose baby’s surnames


TRADITIONALLY, children born in Spain are registered with their father’s first surname first and their mother’s first surname second. However, times are changing, and Congress has approved that if parents can’t agree within three days if they want to follow this standard or put the mother’s surname first, it will be the civil servant who registers the child’s birth who will decide.

The government had proposed putting the surnames in alphabetical order, while others in the opposition said they should be chosen randomly.


The civil servant will have to decide, taking into account the interests of the child to prevent cacophony or unusual names if the surname comes directly behind the first name.

In any case, if a person is not happy with their name or surname, they can now change it when they reach 16, instead of having to wait until they are 18.

Other changes include the possibility of naming the child within the first 24 hours from birth, instead of having to wait until one day had passed, and the possibility of registering the name of a child which dies before it is born as long as the pregnancy was more than six months in duration.

The ‘Libro de Familia’ which has traditionally existed in Spain will also be substituted for an electronic data base which families will be able to check at any time.



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