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Italy: Prospective Legislation on the Election and Change of Names

(Oct. 6, 2014) The Italian Parliament is considering a bill that would amend the existing rules regarding the election of first and last names by Italian citizens. The current rules are contained in Regulations from November 2000. (Decree of the President of the Republic No. 54, of March 13, 2012, Regulations on the Amendments of Legislation Concerning Civil Status Relating to Names and Last Names in Accordance with Title X of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 396 of November 3, 2000 [in Italian], GAZETTA UFFICIALE No. 108 (May 10, 2012).)

On September 24, 2014, the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament approved the consolidated text of a bill that amends the existing regime for the attribution of last names to children. (Temi dell’attività Parlamentare, Cognome dei figli, Camera dei deputati website (Sept. 24, 2014).) The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

The bill amends the existing statutory provisions related to the attribution of last names to children, including the possibility of attributing the maternal last name to the children. (Id.) The bill allows the parents of a child born in wedlock to agree to attribute to the child one of the following last names: (1) the paternal last name; (2) the maternal last name; or (3) both last names in an agreed-upon order. If no agreement exists between the parents, both last names are attributed in alphabetical order. (Id.) The same rules apply to a child born out of wedlock, at the time of his recognition by both parents. If the child is recognized by only one parent, the child acquires the last name of the recognizing parent. If the other parent recognizes the child at a later time (voluntarily or pursuant to a judicial decision), the last name is added to the child’s last name with the consent of the other parent; if the child is 14 years of age or older, his consent is required. (Id.)

In addition, the bill also establishes that children of the same parents who are registered after the first child bear the same last name as that child; anyone who has two last names may pass only one last name of his choosing to the child; and adult children who upon their birth were attributed only the paternal or maternal last name, in accordance with existing legislation, may add the paternal or maternal last name to theirs. (Id.) The bill also amends the rules on name attribution concerning adopted adult children. (Id.)

The amendment will apply only to declarations of birth that occurred after the entry into effect of the implementing regulations, to take place within 12 months of the adoption of the revisions. However, with the prior consent of both parents, the maternal last name may be added to minor children (including adopted children) before the entry into effect of such implementing regulations. The child’s consent is required if the child is 14 years of age or older. (Id.)