A French Court has made an order this week preventing a child’s parents from naming their child “Nutella” after the Hazelnut spread. The court ordered that the baby girl should be named “Ella instead” as this was clearly in the child’s best interests.
In the majority of cases most separated or separating couples will be able to agree the arrangements for their child between themselves or with the assistance of mediation. However, where parents are unable to agree their child’s name, which school they should go to or which religion the child should practice the court may be required to intervene.
In England and Wales where the court is required to make decisions regarding the upbringing of a child the court will take into account all the circumstances of the case to determine what is in that child’s best interests. The court will consider the “welfare checklist” which requires the court to consider a variety of factors including (amongst other things):
- The wishes and feelings of the child, if they are old enough to give comment.
- The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
- Any impact a change in circumstances might case.
- The child’s age, sex and background will be relevant as will any other particular circumstances for that child.
- Any risk of harm the child has suffered or may suffer.
The court in France took a child focused view in reaching their decision as they found that the parents’ choice of name could cause the child to be bullied. Any risk of harm the child may suffer as a result of the decision will be a crucial factor when deciding what an appropriate outcome in a case should be.
At Slater and Gordon Lawyers we specialise in changing a child's name (perhaps not to "Nutella") and assisting with all aspects of relationship breakdown including disputes in relation to the arrangements for children.
Amy Harris is a Family Law & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
For an initial consultation call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.
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