LivingBaby names prohibited by law in Spain: that's how...

Baby names prohibited by law in Spain: that's how you can't call it

Choosing a baby’s name is the first important decision parents make when a child is on the way. It will accompany you throughout your life, or at least throughout your childhood, until you are old enough to change it if there are reasons for it.

There are really unusual names that escape all common sense, and yet there are children who carry them all over the world. Although in Spain there is freedom of choice, the right of parents to choose the baby’s name is subject to some legal limits as a bad exercise of that freedom, sometimes thoughtless or arbitrary, could affect the dignity of the newborn.

Article 54 of the Civil Registry Law and Article 192 of the Civil Registry Regulations are those that determine the limits to the freedom of choice of name when registering the baby.

Number of names

No more than two simple names or one compound name may be imposed . When two simple names are imposed, they will be joined by a hyphen and both will be written with an initial capital letter “.

It is quite clear. It is not allowed to call a girl María del Mar Ana Isabel, since they are two compound names, but instead she can be called María del Mar or Ana Isabel.

“It is considered that proper names that, by themselves or in combination with surnames, are contrary to decorum are considered to objectively harm the person.”

In addition, the combination of both names as well as the last name cannot be rude. There are the most common names that together with the surname sound very bad; For example, calling a child Esteban Quito or Elsa Pito would be a source of mockery.

Harmful names and diminutives of names

Names that objectively harm the person are prohibited.”

It is quite difficult to determine what is objective and what is not, because some might think that names like Cain do not harm the person and others that they do.

The following are also prohibited:

“The diminutives or familiar and colloquial variants that have not reached substantivity, those that make the identification confusing and those that as a whole mislead about sex.”

The diminutives like Manolito are not allowed, but those that have achieved their own identity such as Pepa, for Josefa, Lola, for Dolores, Sandra for Alejandra or Alex for Alejandro. There is controversy about Nacho, for Ignacio, but following the same reasoning it would be one more example of the previous ones.

In one of the reforms to the law, it has been clarified that diminutives are not allowed except those “that have not reached substantivity .” For what names like Paco or Pepe have stopped being familiar nicknames to become names in all laws.

As for the “that they lead as a whole to error regarding sex”, there are certain names that are excluded from the prohibition, such as certain unisex names such as Ariel, Trinidad or Cruz, which can be names of both girls and boys.

The name of the brothers cannot be repeated

“The same name as one of his siblings cannot be imposed on the newborn unless he has died, as well as its usual translation into another language.”

It is a most logical limitation not to call two or more children by the same name. However, there are cases of brothers who repeat the same inverted names: they are called, for example, Juan José and José Juan; it is strictly not the same name. There are also cases of sons named Tomás Ezequiel, Ezequiel Arturo and Arturo Tomás, who, although they are repeated in chains, are not the same names.

With regard to “nor its usual translation into another language” , it is not allowed to call a son Thomas and another Thomas, for example. It is reasonable.

Names in foreign languages are allowed

“If they have a usual translation into any of the Spanish languages, they will be consigned in the version chosen by whoever has to impose the name.”

The previous prohibition to impose proper names in non-Spanish languages on Spaniards is abolished. Before, for example, Mary had to be translated into Mary. But after one of the amendments to the law, it is allowed.

That is, now a child can be called John, Jean Pierre or whatever his parents decide. Motivated leave in part because there are many couples in which both or one of the parents are foreigners and want to name their children in their own language.

“It is allowed to substitute a name for its namesake equivalent in any of the Spanish languages.”

Of course, names are allowed in any of the Spanish languages such as Catalan, Galician, Basque, Spanish, Aragonese, etc.

Abstract or fancy names

The law also allows:

“Names of historical, mythological, legendary or artistic characters, geographical names and, in general, abstract or fantasy names, for whose interpretation the current social, cultural and political reality of our country must be taken into account.”

As we said, there is freedom of choice, but you have to have some common sense. The name is something very important and the child cannot be ridiculed with such unfortunate names as Snow White, Superman, Malm (like the Ikea chest of drawers), Google or Harry Potter.

We trust that in similar cases it will be the judge, for the benefit of the child, who will put sanity to the extravagance of the parents.

Finally and with respect to the foregoing, Article 192 of the Civil Registry Regulations specifies:

“Names forbidden as extravagant are those that by themselves or in combination with the surnames are contrary to the decorum of the person.”

Of course, you cannot give the child a denigrating or pejorative name such as Robocop or Pocahontas, a prohibition that does not exist in other countries, such as Mexico, where you can find the most extravagant names.

Name change

If the parents have not had good criteria to choose the name of the child, it does not feel identified with his name, it has been imposed against the legal provisions or was rude, the Civil Registry Law 40/1999, of November 5, contemplates the possibility of changing your name.

If you are a minor, it must be done with the consent of the parents, but their permission is not required after reaching the age of 18.

The interested party must prove that his environment does not know him by the name that appears in the birth record, but by a different one. You must show just cause for the change and regularity of use.

It is allowed, for example, to translate the name into any of the official Spanish languages such as Basque, Galician, Catalan, Valencian, etc. or from abroad to Spanish.

As you can see, thanks to the latest modifications, the restrictions on what names cannot be given to the baby are not as strict as years ago.

It is about parents having the greatest freedom when choosing the name of their children, but that they do so with responsibility and common sense .

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