Turkish Supreme Court rejects mother’s surname

Turkish Supreme Court rejects mother’s surname

ISTANBUL - Radikal
The Supreme Court has reversed a local Istanbul court ruling that allowed a divorced mother to change the surname of her son to that of her father, on the grounds that “having the right of custody is not enough to change surnames.” 

Requests from mothers to give the last name of their father to their children, after they have gained custodial rights over them, are one of the most frequently encountered demands in divorce cases. The Constitutional Court recently lifted the ban preventing this practice, allowing mothers to give their children whichever last name they wished. 

After the Constitutional Court’s verdict, a woman, identified as Hülya G., received approval from the Istanbul Anadolu 2nd Court of First Instance to change the surname of her son. “After the divorce, my child and my own surnames were different. This situation caused problems both in my son’s psychology and in official processes, so I want to change my son’s surname,” Hülya G. said in the initial request. 

However, the Office of the Civil Registry rejected the court’s decision and took the case to Supreme Court of Appeals. The high court’s 18th Civil Department ruled that the demand was unjust and reversed the local court’s ruling. In its justified decision, the Supreme Court said the father’s surname was the surname of the “family” and therefore should not be changed. It said the child could use the mother’s last name only if the divorce had occurred before birth. 

“This kind of a practice would damage the credibility of birth records and harm stability, as well as create very deep traumas on the psychology of the child,” the ruling stated.