German parents in court over baby name

family law

A German couple has decided to change the name of their baby after a closed door court hearing.

The couple, from Kassel in central Germany, tried to register their newborn son as ‘Lucifer’ but were prevented from doing so by an official in the local registry office. Under German law, a baby’s name can be rejected if officials believe it will endanger the child’s wellbeing. Therefore, names that could lead to the child being ridiculed or names which are deemed offensive can be blocked by the courts.

Although Lucifer means ‘bearer of light’, it has much more obvious associations with the devil. As a result it is actually banned as a name for children in several countries such as New Zealand.

During the closed door hearing, the parents decided not to fight for this name so the court did not have to make a ruling one way or the other. They instead agreed on the much less Satanic Lucian.

In contrast to the German system, the UK is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to what parents can name their children. There are virtually no restrictions on what babies can be called. Over the years, British babies have been given names like Superman, Gandalf and Gazza.

Despite this freedom, one in five British parents grows to regret the name they chose for their child. However this is usually not because the name is odd, as a quarter of remorseful parents say the reason for their dissatisfaction is that it is too common.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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