When you introduce yourself to a new group of people, you start by saying your name. This is because a name is one of the most important ways to identify a person. Other aspects of identity, according to article 35 of Nº32/2016 of 28/08/2016 the law governing persons and family include origin, sex and residence.
As par article 36 of the law governing persons and family, a name comprises a surname and a first name. If someone presents a document where one name is missing, it is considered invalid.
Because names are given at birth, article 37 of the law governing persons and family says that a person’s name is one that is on his/her birth record.
Article 38 of Nº32/2016 of 28/08/2016 says that the right to have a name extends to all children and those who have parental authority are in charge of choosing the names.
Even though parents have the right to choose their children’s names, article 39 of the law governing persons and family prohibits certain names. In this case, “A child shall not bear all his/her father’s, mother’s or siblings’ names.” This is to prevent confusion. Additionally, article 39 prohibits names that are offensive to good morals or moral integrity.
Sometimes, when women get married they change their surnames and put their husbands’. Article 40 of the law governing persons and family says that marriage doesn’t have to result in change of name but spouses who agree to do this can go ahead.
If a person wishes to change their name back after divorce or death of their spouse, they are free to do so. This is according to article 41 of the law governing persons and family. The request for change of name is made to the civil registrar.
It’s not only married people who are allowed to change their names. According to article 42 of the law governing persons and family, once a person turns eighteen, they can apply for change of name.
If the person who wants to change their name is below eighteen, his/her parents or a person who has parental authority can make the application on his/her behalf.
Because of how crucial a name is, not everyone is allowed to change it. Article 42 of the law governing persons and family provides four grounds for changing one’s name. The first one is if the name causes dishonor to the person who bears it. For example, someone can change their name if it has a bad meaning.
Another ground for change of name is if it is offensive to good morals or people’s moral integrity. One can also change one’s name if it is used by another person such that it can result in dishonor or cause injury to one’s property. For example, if someone is named after an infamous person, it may cause them dishonor.
Other reasons for change of name are validated by the Minister in charge of civil status.
When someone changes his/her name, it is recorded in the register of birth records and henceforth becomes effective.