a married woman required to replace her maiden name by her husband's
family name after marriage?
Fructidor an II law specifies that "no one can have another name
than that which appears on the birth certificate" and the 1946
Constitution specifies that "the law guarantees to women all
rights equal to that of a man and in all domains".
As a result, by marrying, the woman keeps her maiden name ("
nom de jeune fille "). She can use her maiden name for all needs
of daily life: opening a bank account, obtaining an identity card,
signing checks … and even more important activities such as signing
However, marriage does give a woman the possibility, if she wishes,
to take her husband's name. It is a simple usage and there is no
legal provision on this subject. It is only stipulated in article
264 of the civil code that
"following a divorce, each of the spouses takes back the use
of his or her name".
The married woman can also attach her maiden name to her husband's
name. You only need to inform the administration.
Source : http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F77.xhtml
banks doing something illegal?
married. You decide not to use your husband's name (and you are right
:-)). You and your husband are going to open a bank account and what
a surprise when you receive your check book, your name has disappeared.
Instead of "Ms Jones and Mr. Smith", it's simply written
"Mr and Mrs Smith".
Know that this banking practice is extremely common if not the general
rule ... and it will be extremely difficult to get your way and your
name on a joint account. They will of course explain to you that the
software cannot provide 2 different names, or some other nonsense.
It is up to you to defend yourself and explain that a bank cannot
favor usage over rights.
The law is on your side. Threaten legal action ... and, miraculously,
they find a solution so they can respect the law!
name of her owner
I am always
surprised that married women accept (appreciate?) taking their husband's
name, the name of their owner in a way (in any case, it is at the
same time an act of submission to another person and the renunciation
of a part of one's identity), as it only refers to a tolerated
use and that the law and the civil status do not recognize and only
use the maiden name ("nom de jeune fille"). Women that are
still in doubt only have to look at their voter registration card.
How many women have had to change their name twice? The first time
when they got married and once again when they divorced ... although
it would have been so simple not to have changed anything at all,
right from the start.
Of course, often if not the majority of time, women take their husband's
name in ignorance of the law, convinced that it's the law and not
simply a custom, in the guilty silence of the chauvinist culture who
is well informed on this point ...
Reflect upon the fact that the search for control over a woman and
a hold over her is the exact objective of masculine domestic violence
and is reinforced by this social fact which is not as minor as it
appears at first glance ...
Choosing to take your husband's name does not contribute to equality
of the sexes.
didn't know all this? Make sure your daughter knows.
viewpoint that I am developing here, in this last part called "the
name of her owner" is quite ... radical. I am not looking to
hurt anyone. I do realize that the vast majority of married women
use their husband's name. This only attests to the strength of this
tradition ... but age-old traditions are not the best for women.
Generally speaking, the question of family names and their transmission
to children is a touchy subject at least, but without a doubt, isn't
there a way to find solutions which harm no one and conform better
to the equality of the sexes ... without conflict ... in a harmonious
way. In any case, I hope so!
the publication of this page, several correspondents quite rightly
brought to my attention the fact that even if official documents (national
identity card, voter registration card, resident alien permit, ...)
do indicate the maiden name, it also systematically includes the words
"married name X" and that this event was discriminating
in the sense that this practice is only imposed on women: in fact,
no man's identity card refers to his wife's name while there is no
law that forbids him from using it ...
Assembly - 12th legislature - Questions to the government
Question N° : 48207 by Mr. Patrick Beaudouin (UMP - Union pour
un Mouvement Populaire - Val-de-Marne ) QE
Minister questioned : Justice
Minister appointed to respond: Interior
Question published in the "Journal Officiel": 12/10/2004
page : 7890
Response published in the JO: 01/02/2005 page : 1108
Date of change in attribution : 23/11/2004
Heading of analysis: resident alien permits
Analysis: required references. Women
Text of the QUESTION: M. Patrick Beaudouin calls the attention
of his honorable Keeper of the Seal (monsieur le garde des sceaux),
Justice Minister, to the obligation for women of foreign origin to
have the name of their spouse appear on their resident alien permit.
In fact, wives of foreign origin who get a private life and family
life resident alien permit must compulsorily attach the reference
" wife of " to their family name. This obligation provokes
several interrogations. On the one hand, men of foreign origin married
to a French woman do not have this same obligation, which brings up
the question of equality between men and women. An even more important
question as guaranteeing this equality is one of the fundamental principles
of the French Republic. On the other hand, this inequality, which
prevents wives from freely choosing whether or not to take their husband's
family name, stems from a legal hole which it would appear is still
unfilled. He asks him if this legal hole will be filled and this obligation
will be removed.
Text of the REPONSE: The honorable Assemblyman calls attention
to the obligation of women of foreign origin to have their husband's
family name appear on their resident alien permit. The application
used by the police services to register and manage resident alien
permit requests of foreign nationals' files in France (AGDREF) allows
the possibility of giving resident alien permit without the reference
" wife of " appearing, even if it is noted in the file that
the person is married. For this, the user must note the reference
" INC " in the box " spouse of ".
been married for 16 years, I have redone my identity card since I
have been married and NONE of them have the reference "husband
of X"... simply because on the forms requesting the establishment
of identity documents, I did not fill in the box spouse's name. If
the name of the spouse is filled in, the administration considers
(rightly so) that the woman wishes to use it.
C. Guégueniat ... born Guégueniat! 18 November 2004
of June 26, 1986 concerning the application of article 43 of law n°
85-1372 dated December 23, 1985. Use of the name of a parent which
is not transmitted. Denomination of persons in administrative documents
The Prime Minister to the ladies and gentlemen, Ministers and State
I remind you that article 43 of the law n° 85-1372 dated December
23, 1985 (JO dated 26-12-1985) introduced the following provisions
into our laws:
"Art. 43. - Each adult person can add the name of the parent
which has not been transmitted to him or her to his or her name as
an assumed name.
"Concerning minor children, this right to modify is given to
the person who exercises parental authority."
This text will come into effect next July 1st (art. 56 of the previously
More generally speaking, the problem of the name under which a person
should be identified, as well as those others designations that might
be used, sometimes presents itself when establishing administrative
documents and the management of personnel files or for users of public
It therefore seems necessary to me to remind you of the principle
rules which should be followed in this matter.
The legal name and assumed names
The name of all French citizens is that which was transmitted according
to the specific rules of each relationship and which is on his or
her birth certificate. It is this name that should be used to establish
identity documents, legal documents as well as administrative files
(law of 6 Fructidor an II).
It should be noted that this name should not change, except
in very specific circumstances; either by a legal name change in application
of the law of 11 germinal an XI, or by legal decision (name change
of a natural child, establishment or modification of a relationship
before an incidence on the name), or by a joint declaration before
a juvenile court judge (for minor natural children).
These modifications are always added as a reference in the margin
of the birth certificate.
implies no change in the names of the spouses.
In addition, the family name should be distinguished from the names
that a person can have the right to use. Assumed names are established
a) For a married woman or widow, by addition or by substitution to
her family name or her husband's family name or the name he uses (decree
dated June 26, 1986, Journal Officiel of July 3, 1986) ;
b) For a married man or widower, by addition to his family name of
his wife's family name or the name she uses (decree dated June 26,
c) For a divorced woman, by keeping the right to use the ex-husband's
family name either by full rights in the case of divorce by abandonment
requested by the husband or with the ex-husband's agreement, or by
judgment (art. 264 of the Civil Code).
However, once a divorced woman who has kept the use of her ex-husband's
name or widows and widowers get remarried, they lose the right to
use the family name or the assumed name of the preceding spouse, no
matter what the outcome of this new union;
d) Starting July 1st, 1986, for all adult and minor persons, by addition
to his or her name of the name of the parent which was not previously
transmitted. (art. 43 of the law dated December 23, 1985).
It results from the cases cited above that a single person can have
the choice between several assumed names because the people mentioned
in a, b or c cited above can also take precedence over the right mentioned
In this hypothesis, the person must choose between the assumed name
mentioned in a, b or c, on the one hand, and the assumed name mentioned
in d, on the other.
No accumulation or combination between the different assumed names
Reference of the assumed names
The interested party has full discretion to start using the assumed
name he or she has chosen.
Reference to the assumed name on documents is also at the discretion
of the interested party. He or she must make a specific request for
In this case, to avoid confusion between the family name and the assumed
name, each of the names must be noted in a distinct manner on the
document. Examples are given in Annex I.
However, in any correspondence exchanged with the interested party,
the administration must designate this under the assumed name that
she or he has indicated.
2. 2. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the legal
justification of his or her right to use someone else's name. The
required justifying documents in the different cases are indicated
in annex II.
When the interested party is a minor, the person authorized to present
the request is indicated in annex III.
2. 3. I add, in order to avoid any difficulty of interpretation, that
1° The legal nature of an assumed name excludes all reference
to the civil status and in the family book (livret de famille);
2° In the absence of a specific disposition, the order in which
all the family names are used is free;
3° The interested party can renounce at any time the assumed name
indicated to the administration.
In order to assure taking into account under satisfactory conditions
for users of the new right created by the law dated December 23, 1985
and to preserve the proper functioning of the administration, would
you please assure the diffusion of this bill to your various services
and assure its exact application.