Can I change my father's name?
Naming and changing names (for children)
Which first name can I choose for my child?
When choosing a first name, the best interests of the child must be taken into account. The first name must not be offensive, disparaging, ridiculous or unsuitable and must clearly show the child's gender. If you opt for a gender-neutral first name, we advise you to give yourself a second first name that clearly shows the gender.
The number of first names should not exceed seven, otherwise the child's well-being and numerous problems in everyday life can be endangered. If two first names are connected with a hyphen, they are counted as one name.
When notifying children of foreign parents, the respective laws of the country of origin must also be observed in addition to the German regulations. Failure to do so can lead to difficulties in later registration with the home authorities.
Before giving your name, please inquire at your home authority or your responsible consulate whether the names you want are permitted.
Information on first name confirmation for unusual first names can be obtained from the Society for German Language
Website: Society for the German Language
If you are unsure whether problems can arise with the first name you have chosen, contact your colleagues at the registry office in good time.
Which family name can my child have?
In German law, a child whose parents are married to each other receives the married name of their parents as the maiden name. If the parents do not have a married name, you can choose between the family name of the mother or the father. This provision is then also binding for all other children.
If the child's parents are not married to each other and the mother has sole custody, the child is given the mother's current surname.
The mother can also give the child the family name of the father who is not custodial. This is done by giving a name, which in turn requires an acknowledgment of paternity and the consent of the father to be given a name. This declaration is subject to a fee (20 euros).
If the parents who are not married to each other have declared joint custody at the youth welfare office before the child is born, they will determine one of their family names as the child's maiden name free of charge.
If one parent or both parents are foreign nationals, the parents can stipulate that the child receives his family name in accordance with the law of one parent's home country (e.g. multiple surnames, patronymic, proper name, name chain).
Which surname changes are still possible later?
1. Change by marriage:
If the parents get married after the birth of the child and the parents continue to have separate surnames, the surname of the child can be redetermined within three months.
If the parents determine a married name, the married name automatically extends to the maiden name of the minor child. From the age of five, the parent with custody must give their consent to this on behalf of the child. If the child is over 14 years old, they must also sign the declaration of affiliation themselves.
2. Change through subsequent name determination after recognition of paternity:
If the birth of a child has already been recorded and only the mother is entered in the birth certificate, the child uses the mother's name as the maiden name. If the paternity of this child is subsequently recognized and the father is then entered in the child's birth certificate, the child's mother can also determine the father's surname as the child's maiden name at a later point in time. Please note that after submitting a declaration of joint custody to the youth welfare office, you can only change the child's maiden name within a period of three months.
3. Change by naming:
A parent with custody can, together with their new spouse (not the child's parent), determine the joint married name for the child's surname. The married name can also be placed in front of or added to the maiden name (double name). The prerequisite for naming is that the child lives in the same household as the spouses and that the consent of the other parent has been obtained. Consent is mandatory if the child has their family name or if they have custody.
Please note that the declarations on the use of first names and surnames described above are irrevocable and cannot be changed by the registry office.
Who shall I talk to?
The registry office of the place where the child was born is responsible for the first registration of the birth of a child (see service: "Registration of a birth").
A later declaration about the name change can be made at the registry office of birth or residence. The name change becomes effective when it is entered in the birth register at the registry office of the place of birth. You will receive the certificate of the name change or a new birth certificate for the child with the changed family name from this registry office.
Which documents are required?
The colleagues at the registry office will be happy to provide you with individual information on whether you can change or change your first name and surname and which documents we need from you.
What are the fees?
The first-time issue of a first name and surname is free of charge. However, if the child's mother has sole custody and the surname of the non-custodial father is to be assigned to the child's surname, a fee of 21 euros will be charged for this name assignment.
The fee for submitting a subsequent declaration of naming is 21 euros. The certificate of name change costs 11 euros. If you would like to have a birth certificate issued with the changed family name of your child, the normal certificate fee of 11 euros applies.
Citizen Service and Elections Department
65428 Rüsselsheim am Main
Show address on city map
Arrival by public transport
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
as well as by appointment by telephone
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