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Old 28.11.2011, 13:24
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Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

Hello,

My partner and I have been together for 7 years, she’s Swiss and I’m a Brit, were both very much happily in love and we don’t intend to split, nor do we intend to get married, (we plan to live in sin and avoid extra Tax), since neither of us are religious and we both feel negative towards being discriminated against as a married pair…

However were going to have a child (were both very happy it) and the little one will be due in March….. This isn’t a question about giving our child a silly name (named after a super hero or a place in Switzerland)…..

But rather what surname the child will carry…… from what I understand, the rights of the mother come first and according to Swiss law (an unmarried couple) the child will automatically inherit the name of the Mother….

Her surname is Swiss but it isn’t the best and it’s a tongue twister even the Swiss tend to get it wrong….. Both of us are in agreement that we would like the child to have my surname… ( no I haven’t placed any pressure on her) it was actually her suggestion and i was extremely flattered!

Has anyone faced this predicament, does anyone know what options are available to us “other than marrying” ?

Also, I would assume that the Child will have Dual nationality Swiss and British, how do I ensure this occurs?
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Old 28.11.2011, 13:44
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Re: Surname

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Hello,

My partner and I have been together for 7 years, she’s Swiss and I’m a Brit, were both very much happily in love and we don’t intend to split, nor do we intend to get married, (we plan to live in sin and avoid extra Tax), since neither of us are religious and we both feel negative towards being discriminated against as a married pair…

However were going to have a child (were both very happy it) and the little one will be due in March….. This isn’t a question about giving our child a silly name (named after a super hero or a place in Switzerland)…..

But rather what surname the child will carry…… from what I understand, the rights of the mother come first and according to Swiss law (an unmarried couple) the child will automatically inherit the name of the Mother….

Her surname is Swiss but it isn’t the best and it’s a tongue twister even the Swiss tend to get it wrong….. Both of us are in agreement that we would like the child to have my surname… ( no I haven’t placed any pressure on her) it was actually her suggestion and i was extremely flattered!

Has anyone faced this predicament, does anyone know what options are available to us “other than marrying” ?

Also, I would assume that the Child will have Dual nationality Swiss and British, how do I ensure this occurs?
Whats the wifes surname? and yours?

Could you not double barrell so the child gets both? or, if hers is particularly difficult, maybe the first half or second half of the word is the easier part and use that as part of the double barrel name.

I.e. her name could be Wessonreich and yours Smith, so you can go with Smith-Wesson, pow!
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Old 28.11.2011, 14:06
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Re: Surname

I don't have experience of this but do remember seeing something similar here. About two thirds of the way down is a post from Jot that contains the info you need.
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Old 28.11.2011, 14:18
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Whats the wifes surname? and yours?

Could you not double barrell so the child gets both? or, if hers is particularly difficult, maybe the first half or second half of the word is the easier part and use that as part of the double barrel name.

I.e. her name could be Wessonreich and yours Smith, so you can go with Smith-Wesson, pow!
Trying to avoid any hyphenated surname or anything that sounds like a weapon – peace!

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I don't have experience of this but do remember seeing something similar here. About two thirds of the way down is a post from Jot that contains the info you need.
Thanks read the post, it was primarily for a divorcee changing her name back to her maiden name… From what I could tell she was not Swiss….

I understand that if both a non-Swiss. Then its ok…. but since she’s Swiss I suspect it may become complicated…

Last edited by Longbyt; 28.11.2011 at 19:50. Reason: same poster, same theme, consecutive posts
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Old 28.11.2011, 15:49
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Re: Surname

Children born to unmarried Swiss women get the name of the mother at birth. Can be changed to the father's name if it can be proved that the mother's name is an unnecessary burden or if the parents ultimately get married later.

I think the same applies to unmarried non-Swiss, I remember that the courts (see 5A_424/2010 from the Bundesgericht www.bger.ch, a specific case which explains what laws are involved) just ruled against a north african/French mother with a Swiss father unmarried in Switzerland who wanted their child to have the the father's name . They brought a lot of reasons to the table- that the mom's name is her ex-husband's name, that the kid's French passport is in the father's name, but it wasn't enough to get the court ordered name change.

Good luck, I know the law recently changed but it still works against unmarried couples.
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Old 28.11.2011, 16:19
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Re: Surname

Look on the Civil Registry website of your canton. I know at least in Vaud they have all the rules listed on there. If you have doubts, call them and discuss your options.

Congratulations on the new baby!
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Old 28.11.2011, 16:29
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Re: Surname

Congratulations!

With regard to claiming nationality, it is legally a question of fact (as regards the British bit .. no info regarding claiming Swiss nationality I'm afraid) but there are a few things you can do to help you document that factual claim - principally registering the birth with the British authorities (also practically a good move as your child will then have a British form birth certificate which is always less confusing to produce when needed by UK authorities in future life for things like getting married, university or whatever ..)

The first time most people need to prove their claim to nationality is when they apply (or parent applies on their behalf) for a passport. For people claiming British nationality who were born outside the British Isles, there are slightly more cumbersome requirements .. but it is all easy enough to satisfy (on the basis that you are British citizen either by birth or naturalisation and that you can prove you are the child's parent .. done by birth certificate) and the passport application form guides you through this.

In short, it's not a problem.
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Old 28.11.2011, 17:31
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Re: Surname

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Also, I would assume that the Child will have Dual nationality Swiss and British, how do I ensure this occurs?
Off topic but important all the same. If I were you, I'd get as many facts as I could on all aspects of being unmarried parents, especially when the two people involved are of two different nationalities. I would 'assume' nothing at all and try to work out possibilities for the future should anything, anywhere, not go according to plan.

I don't like to paint things black having been married to the same partner for a long time, but accidents do happen, people do die unexpectedly, many relationships do break down and with a couple who are not married, there are a whole load of things which don't run so smoothly if the worst happens. (Just check out the 'we are unmarried, we are separating, we have a child' on EF for a start). Who has signed the rental agreement on the flat? What steps, if any, need to be taken to ensure that the father's name is on any relevant paperwork. How does one go about getting the baby a passport? Some things are better thought about before the child is born.

Good Wishes to you both.
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Last edited by Longbyt; 28.11.2011 at 20:17.
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Old 28.11.2011, 17:57
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Children born to unmarried Swiss women get the name of the mother at birth. Can be changed to the father's name if it can be proved that the mother's name is an unnecessary burden or if the parents ultimately get married later.

I think the same applies to unmarried non-Swiss, I remember that the courts (see 5A_424/2010 from the Bundesgericht www.bger.ch, a specific case which explains what laws are involved) just ruled against a north african/French mother with a Swiss father unmarried in Switzerland who wanted their child to have the the father's name . They brought a lot of reasons to the table- that the mom's name is her ex-husband's name, that the kid's French passport is in the father's name, but it wasn't enough to get the court ordered name change.

Good luck, I know the law recently changed but it still works against unmarried couples.

Thank you.

PS. Sorry don’t mean to cause any confusion using this account to respond (I seem to have annoyed a Moderator and they have frozen my normal account, so I had to create this, so i could at least say “I’m reading and grateful for the feedback”).

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Look on the Civil Registry website of your canton. I know at least in Vaud they have all the rules listed on there. If you have doubts, call them and discuss your options.

Congratulations on the new baby!

Thank you and for the feedback


PS. Sorry don’t mean to cause any confusion using this account to respond (I seem to have annoyed a Moderator and they have frozen my normal account, so I had to create this, so i could at least say “I’m reading and grateful for the feedback”).

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Congratulations!

With regard to claiming nationality, it is legally a question of fact (as regards the British bit .. no info regarding claiming Swiss nationality I'm afraid) but there are a few things you can do to help you document that factual claim - principally registering the birth with the British authorities (also practically a good move as your child will then have a British form birth certificate which is always less confusing to produce when needed by UK authorities in future life for things like getting married, university or whatever ..)

The first time most people need to prove their claim to nationality is when they apply (or parent applies on their behalf) for a passport. For people claiming British nationality who were born outside the British Isles, there are slightly more cumbersome requirements .. but it is all easy enough to satisfy (on the basis that you are British citizen either by birth or naturalisation and that you can prove you are the child's parent .. done by birth certificate) and the passport application form guides you through this.

In short, it's not a problem.
Thanks will make sure i take steps to secure dual nationality




PS. Sorry don’t mean to cause any confusion using this account to respond (I seem to have annoyed a Moderator and they have frozen my normal account, so I had to create this, so i could at least say “I’m reading and grateful for the feedback”).

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Off topic but important all the same. If I were you, I'd get as many facts on all aspects of being unmarried parents, especially when the two people incolved are of two different nationalities. I would 'assume' nothing at all and try to work out possibilities for the future should anything, anywhere, not go according to plan.

I don't like to paint things black having been married to the same partner for a long time, but accidents do happen, people do die unexpectedly, many relationships do break down and with a couple who are not married, there are a whole load of things which don't run so smoothly if the worst happens. (Just check out the 'we are unmarried, we are separating, we have a child' on EF for a start). Who has signed the rental agreement on the flat? What steps, if any, need to be taken to ensure that the father's name is on any relevant paperwork. How does one go about getting the baby a passport? Some things are better thought about before the child is born.

Good Wishes to you both.
Again, thanks for the feedback, my feet are firmly on the ground and always ground and thanks for the best wishes….




PS. Sorry don’t mean to cause any confusion using this account to respond (I seem to have annoyed a Moderator and they have frozen my normal account, so I had to create this, so i could at least say “I’m reading and grateful for the feedback”).

Last edited by Longbyt; 28.11.2011 at 20:19. Reason: same poster, same theme, consecutive posts
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Old 28.11.2011, 19:02
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

I am going through the exact same thing right now and have been to both embassies (I am dual citizen but not Swiss, my partner is) and the geminde... even the hospital to figure out what needs to be done there.

The info people have shared seems to be correct. Mom's name will prevail unless it is proven to be a burden to the child, which I understand is not an easy thing to prove ! Then if you ever get married then both she and the baby will get your name. The current Swiss law does not permit swiss women to keep their last name- unless it is hyphenated or if the man takes the wife's last name.

Also,are you aware that you will need to declare your parental status in order to be declared a legal parent ? This also requires documentation (which can vary depending on where you are from) so it is worth a call to your local authorities to find out what you need. Sometimes the documents need to be less then 6 months old ... yep, what a stupid rule !

My understanding (although not 100% sure) is as long as you get the legal parent status you should not need to worry about the unfair treatment of unmarried fathers but if you don't do the paper work your kid...... well, wont be your kid !
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Old 28.11.2011, 19:32
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

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The current Swiss law does not permit swiss women to keep their last name- unless it is hyphenated or if the man takes the wife's last name.
Not true.

When we got married two months ago, my wife (and I) had the right to choose any last name we wanted.

I kept mine, but my wife had the choice of keeping hers, taking mine, or various other options, independently of what I chose.

And yes, we are both Swiss.

Tom
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Old 28.11.2011, 19:42
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

More info here: Last name for baby
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Old 28.11.2011, 19:49
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

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Not true.

When we got married two months ago, my wife (and I) had the right to choose any last name we wanted.

I kept mine, but my wife had the choice of keeping hers, taking mine, or various other options, independently of what I chose.

And yes, we are both Swiss.

Tom
Well then consider yourself lucky ! There must be a difference depending on the area of the country you are in. I sat in the office Thalwil in Zurich last Thursday for a potential January marriage date and they were clear that Swiss Women could not keep their own name. The rules seem to vary depending on when you are. So if you have the option, awesome. Although she did say if you have another citizenship you will be able to follow the law of your own country.

I think this is why it is so important for people to go the local authority to clarify the local rules, it seems people everywhere get different answers to the same questions.
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Old 28.11.2011, 19:52
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

Hi,

We are brits and our son has both our surnames names on his birth certificate and passport (the names are NOT hyphenated).

We decided our son could either use both names when he is older or choose the one he preferred. For now he uses his mother's surname - but only because this is easier to pronounce.

The Swiss authorities have all our sons details but so far have always written using our choice of name for him - i.e. his mother's surname.

Hope this is helpful.

G
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Old 29.11.2011, 08:32
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

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Well then consider yourself lucky ! There must be a difference depending on the area of the country you are in.
Or because you are not both Swiss.

Tom
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Old 29.11.2011, 08:58
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

How about Tax-Dodger Jr.?
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Old 29.11.2011, 09:07
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

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Well then consider yourself lucky ! There must be a difference depending on the area of the country you are in. I sat in the office Thalwil in Zurich last Thursday for a potential January marriage date and they were clear that Swiss Women could not keep their own name. The rules seem to vary depending on when you are. So if you have the option, awesome. Although she did say if you have another citizenship you will be able to follow the law of your own country.

I think this is why it is so important for people to go the local authority to clarify the local rules, it seems people everywhere get different answers to the same questions.
My Swiss work colleague married her Spanish husband in Thalwil in 2007 and still kept her Swiss surname.

I think the marriage certificate has both names shown as double-barrelled (i.e. Spanishname-Swissname) but all her other official docs (passport, bank docs, voting papers, etc) are just in her Swiss maiden name.
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Old 29.11.2011, 11:00
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

I'm Swiss, my partner is Portuguese, and we're not married.

According to Swiss law, when one of the parents is Swiss the child gets the mother's name. So our baby wears my name on her Swiss ID card.

But rules are different in Portugual, where you can chose which name you want to pass on. That means that on her Portuguese ID our baby has both parents' names.
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Old 29.11.2011, 11:21
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

Surely if the father adopts the child, the child will receive the father's surname? I believe you should talk to the Standesamt about the possibility.

http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...liennamen.html

Familienname des Kindes

Das Kind miteinander verheirateter Eltern erhält mit der Geburt den Familiennamen, den seine Eltern gemeinsam führen. Sind die Eltern des Kindes nicht miteinander verheiratet, so erhält das Kind den Familiennamen, den die Mutter im Zeitpunkt der Geburt führt. Führt sie als Schweizerin infolge einer früheren Eheschliessung einen Doppelfamiliennamen, erhält das Kind nur den 1. Teil dieses Doppelfamiliennamens.

Die Vaterschaftsanerkennung bewirkt keine Änderung des Familiennamens.

Besitzt das Kind das Schweizer Bürgerrecht nicht, kann der Familienname dem Heimatrecht unterstellt werden. Das Zivilstandsamt Ihres Wohnortes informiert Sie diesbezüglich gerne persönlich.

Heiraten die Eltern des Kindes einander, dann erwirbt das vorher geborene anerkannte Kind von Gesetzes wegen den gemeinsamen Familiennamen seiner Eltern, wie wenn es während der Ehe zur Welt gekommen wäre.

Mit der Adoption erwirbt das Kind den Familiennamen des/der Adoptierenden.

Familienname des Ehepaares

Das Zivilstandsamt am schweizerischen Wohnsitz oder die zuständige schweizerische Vertretung im Ausland geben oder vermitteln Auskünfte auf die Frage, wie sich die Heirat auf die Familiennamen der Verlobten auswirkt und welche Wahlmöglichkeiten allenfalls bestehen. Die Auskünfte sind rechtzeitig vor der Heirat einzuholen, damit keine Fristen verpasst werden.
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Old 29.11.2011, 12:08
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Re: Unmarried parents. Can we choose the surname the baby shall hold?

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Surely if the father adopts the child, the child will receive the father's surname? I believe you should talk to the Standesamt about the possibility.
When you're not married you can't adopt your child! But during the pregnancy you have to start the paperworks in order fro the father to 'recognise' his child.

Believe it or not, you can't be a single mum without a father for your baby in CH. If you don't declare a father at the birth of the baby (or during the pregnancy), the 'Justice de paix' will come enquire.

After the baby's birth, you'll be required to plan an alimony procedure, even if the parents live together.

This doesn't change anything to the surname problem btw.
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