On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Name Changes on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

In divorce it is very common to change names. Changing an adult’s name is easy. But, changing the name of a child is a whole different ballgame.

Courts are not as free to change a child’s name as they are an adult’s name. A judge will only change a child’s name when the change is required for the welfare of the child.

Consider this odd case out of Tennessee – courtesy of the Volokh Conspiracy – in which a judge didn’t like the name “Messiah” for a child:

The parents came before the court because of a dispute over what the child’s last name should be, but the judge changed the child’s first name as well, giving two reasons:

“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Judge Ballew said….

According to Judge Ballew, it is the first time she has ordered a first name change. She said the decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a county with a large Christian population.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Judge Ballew said.

In Florida, changing the name of a minor is serious business, and you can only do it if the change is required for the welfare of the child.

If you fail to show evidence that the name change would be in the best interest of the child, your name change will be denied.

There is a Florida statute with a few rules:

Mother not married at the time of birth – The parent who will have custody of the child shall select the child’s given name and surname.

Mother married at the time of birth – The mother and father on the birth certificate select the given name and surname of the child if both parents have custody of the child, otherwise the parent who has custody shall select the child’s name.

Parents disagree on the surname -The surname selected by the father and the surname selected by the mother shall both be entered on the birth certificate, separated by a hyphen in alphabetical order.

Parents disagree on the given name – The given name may not be entered on the certificate until a joint agreement signed by both parents or selected by a court.

Back to the Tennessee case, it seems to me that people I know named Jesus don’t have social problems because of their names. Is Messiah that much different from Jesus that the Messiahs of the world are going to suffer more?