What Constitutes a “Compelling Reason” to Change the Name of a Minor?
Par Sarah D. Pinsonnault, avocate
By Sarah D. Pinsonnault
Although there exists no set rules to determine what constitutes a valid or “compelling” reason for a name change, Muratova c. Director of Civil Status, 2015 QCCS 2109 defines the applicable test as a “negative proposition”, whereby the reason invoked “should not be superfluous or insignificant” nor should it be “the result of a whim or other capricious reason”.
Accordingly, Justice Robert Mongeon, S.C.J., granted the Petitioner’s motion which sought the addition of the masculine version of her patronymic name to the surname name of her three year-old son. Justice Mongeon found that the act of adding to a child’s name a surname that corresponds with the surname of both parents “is neither capricious or the result of a simple whim” and that it carries the positive effect of allowing the child to “relate equally to both parents”:
“ In the present instance, the only obstacle to the proposed change of name comes from the father who is neither the tutor nor the custodial parent. The result of the change of name will not be to withdraw any reference to the name of the father but will be limited to the addition of the name of the mother, in its masculine version.
 I see nothing wrong with this process.
 Any decision dealing with the rights of a minor child must only be taken in the best interest of the child.
 Article 33 C.C.Q. is self-explanatory and self-evident. Here, I do not think that the best interests of the child will be negatively affected. It is quite the contrary.
 I see no negative impact on the better interests of the child if the Petition is granted.
 I also see positive effects: the two patronymic names given to this child will allow him to relate equally to both parents.
 As a result, I am of the opinion that the Petitioner’s Motion should be granted. I am satisfied that if the child had only been given the patronymic name of his mother, the father would be, today, the first in line to ask to have his own patronymic name to the Birth Certificate of his child.”
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