The Swiss authorities online

Jump to content

What will my child’s surname be?

If the parents are married

Any child a married couple has takes the joint surname or, if the parents have different surnames, the name chosen for their children when the couple was married.

Parents who decide on a surname for their children when they get married, can still choose to change their first child’s surname to that of the other parent within a year of the child’s birth. The surname chosen by the parents for their first child must also be given to all subsequent children.

If the parents do not have a common surname, and did not, at the time of their marriage, choose which one of their surnames to give to their children, they need to determine and indicate the surname they choose to give their first child on the child’s birth registration form. This surname will be given to any subsequent children of both parents.

Children aged 12 or over must agree to any changes to their surname.

If the parents are not married

If only one parent has parental responsibility, and this is the first child of these parents, the child takes the surname that parent had before marriage. If both parents have parental authority when their first child is born, they can choose either of their surnames for the child and indicate the surname on the child’s birth registration form. The surname chosen by the parents for their first child must also be given to all their subsequent children, irrespective of which parent has parental authority.

If joint parental responsibility is established only after the birth of the parents’ first child, the parents may, within a year of having established joint parental responsibility, declare at the register office to give their first child the surname of the other parent. This surname will be given to any subsequent children of these parents – irrespective of which parent has parental authority.

Children aged 12 or over must agree to any changes to their surname.