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Parents able to choose the surname of their children

04 September 2008

On 15th July 2008 the States approved an amendment to the Marriage and Civil Status ( Jersey ) Law 2001 that will enable parents, both married and unmarried, to choose any surname for their children when registering the birth of a child.

The amendment is retrospective so that parents of children under the age of 18 years can also take advantage of it and re-register the birth of their child, giving it a new surname.  If the parents are unable to agree the choice of surname, where the parents are married, the child will assume the father’s surname and where the parents are unmarried, the child will assume the mother’s maiden surname. 

The amendment is now being sent to London to receive Royal Assent and it will come into force seven days after it is registered with the Royal Court.  It is therefore expected that these changes to the Law will come into force at the beginning of January 2009.

As this is still four months away, parents of recently born children are advised to register their child in accordance with the Law as it stands at the moment, even though they might wish to take advantage of this amendment.

In addition to the cost of a new birth certificate, there will be a fee of £50 payable to the Parish in which the birth is registered.

In welcoming these new arrangements the Minister for Home Affairs Wendy Kinnard said in the States “I believe that we have now agreed, as a House, a set of proposals which update the registration options available to parents, making the law more contemporary while supporting local Jersey community values and ensuring that the interests of the child are paramount.”

For further information, please contact Mr Robert Kerley, Superintendent Registrar, on 441370

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