Judge chooses young girl's name after parents disagree

Date: Jul 14, 2011

The act of naming a child is something that usually brings a family together.

But for one couple, this act has resulted in a conflict that eventually was brought before the Family Court.

One issue before the Court was that the child's birth - and name - were not yet listed with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Both parents had taken to calling their youngest child by different names - a state that the Judge found to be of concern as well as the fact that the child's birth had yet to be registered.

The child's father had objected to the first name chosen by the mother, claiming he found it to be offensive to Islamic faith.

However, an Islamic religious leader provided evidence to the court that did not support the father's objections. He gave evidence that the name was not offensive to Islam and added that the alternative name chosen by the father was unknown to him.

The mother told the court that she had put forward a compromise for their child's name, suggesting they combine their choices in a hyphenated form - an offer the father rejected out of hand.

Justice Colin Forrest said that he found the father's emphatic objections to the mother's choice of name for their child was "another example of his [the father's] determination to control the mother and her parenting of these two children".

The couple were separated before the birth of the child in question.

At present there is no record of the couple being married under Australian law and the mother refuted the existence of a de facto relationship.

She also denied receiving any financial support from the father, whom the court found to be "unreserved in his criticisms of the mother’s parenting".

A child custody arrangement was ordered, with the mother being responsible for the care of the couple's children, except in terms of "religious upbringing".

Under Family Law, parenting orders are made where a couple are unable to reach a resolution regarding the care of their children.

Couples are encouraged to make arrangements for their children outside of court via parenting agreements, although family lawyers should still be consulted.

The court has also ordered the couple to attend to the matter of registering their youngest child's name and birth with the relevant authorities within seven days.