FranceParents in Beauvais want to give their baby born in February 2023 the letter “M” as their middle name. In France, as in Belgium, we don't do whatever we want with our baby's first names. .
Maxime de Valensart
Are they fans of Matthieu Chedid, aka -M-? The story is not told. Regardless, these parents, from Beauvais in Hauts-de-France, are still awaiting a decision from a family affairs judge. A simple letter as a middle name, in this case “M”, immediately attracted the attention of the civil registrar. The latter also initially believed it was an error.
After contacting the parents to verify, the officer finally registered the name in the civil registry and then sent a report to the public prosecutor. The latter referred the matter to the Family Affairs Judge. It is he who confirms or disconfirms this original choice. “It's certainly a middle name, but it's harmful. Because the second first name can be used as a common first name in France,” Beauvais argued to public prosecutor Courrier Picard.
“Fraise”, “Nutella” or even “Titeuf”: many examples of parental initiatives that require originality have been reported by the French press in recent years. In 2012, the Amiens Court of Appeal ruled that the parents refused to name their son “MJ” after Michael Jackson.
No list, but two conditions
France, like Belgium, does not have a recognized list of first names. On the other hand, the first name must not be contrary to the child's interests and/or harmful to third parties (for example the family name chosen as the first name).
More recently, the French judiciary asked parents to change their child's first name to Fañch because the tilde in the “n” is not “a diacritical sign retained by the French language”. Hence the first name is considered against the best interests of the child.
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