“I inherited the name of my executioner”: the deliverance of people who change their name thanks to the Vignal law

“I inherited the name of my executioner”: the deliverance of people who change their name thanks to the Vignal law

144,000 people changed their name between July 2022 and December 2023. ILLUSTRATION MAXPPP – SYLVIE CAMBON

144,000 people have changed their name since the promulgation of the law by Hérault MP Patrick Vignal in 2022. These are as many people who, for various and often difficult reasons, have taken steps directly affecting their identity.

"It changes life." When we asked the president of , Marine Gatineau Dupré, what she thought of the first numbers, she already gave the color:"I might surprise you, but it’is not much compared to what is going to happen". She was right. Because for two years, indicates l’Insee, 144 000 people have taken the step of changing their name. An explosion.

Most requests come from people aged between 18 and 25, the majority women. In 69% of cases, it is a substitution. The old name is then removed and replaced by another.

Clean slate

Far from being a fantasy, the approach is based on a need. "I didn't have a very happy childhood, that's where my worst memories come from. Relations were so conflictual with my father that I never considered him as such." For Tifany, 25 years old, deliverance arrived in August 2022, when she got her new ID card. Only his mother's name appears on it. That of his father, the last stigma of violence and abuse, has disappeared. This change of name also removes his father from his future: his marriage, his future children.

It’s the pain of traumatized children that guides most name changes. The fear "of inheriting the name of an executioner". "Perverse, manipulative, macho, violent…" Marc wanted to remove his father from his identity. He "opened his eyes"a few years ago, and waited for the Vignal law to take the plunge. He chose to attach his mother’s name to his father’s – we then speak of addition. The person who hit his mother, who threw them out on Christmas Eve, who manipulated him… No longer the only one to determine this. "I kept my father’s name for family history, so that there would be something left. But it was difficult to get my mother's side of the family to accept it, who wanted to erase it. And difficult on the part of my father, who could not stand that I accused him. I was having an identity crisis. It’s a burden that we carry every day."

Change name: how it works

The simplified procedure for changing their surname applies to people who want to take a name derived from their parentage: that of their father or mother. egrave;re. It is possible to add a name to the text. the one that is used or replace it with the name of the other parent (addition or substitution).

A quick procedure

The procedure takes about a month. Simply contact & his town hall, to complete the Cerfa n° 16229 and to provide a birth certificate. For children aged 13 to 15 years old. 18 years old, a consent form is added. In the following weeks, a civil registrar will contact you for confirmation of the process.

Once the change of name is confirmed, it is mandatory to request a renewal of the identity card, even if the old one is still valid. Also consider: contact the administrations that use your name (Health insurance, bank, post office…).

Symbol question

Marie* changed her name last year. The Montpellier girl grew up with her mother's name, since her father recognized her too late after her birth. The latter has since died, but never raised her. However, the young woman felt the need to reclaim this part of her history."I wanted to 'put things back the way they were' bearing my father's name. Taking the step at 25 is a bit weird. Changing your identity overnight is not nothing, but you get used to it."

Then address, bank card, Vitale card, work, training… We had to explain to others that she had a new name, and sometimes justify ourselves.

After the procedures, the rebirth. The name before, this "weight, this ball and chain, something that prevents us from moving forward", disappears. The positive effects appear immediately, congratulates Marine Gatineau Dupré, as soon as the individual presents himself under his new name: "It’s deliverance. " "Despite all the therapies in the world, without changing their name, they cannot get better." So finally, In just a few weeks, healing occurs. The icing on a cake of resilience.

* First name changed.

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