Below are readers' questions about 'Names', which we have chosen to answer. More detailed information on 'Names' can be found on our main website, Family Law in Israel.

Yes, the Names' Act of 1956 allows a mother who divorces to add her maiden name to her married name, in whichever order she chooses. This creates a link between her surname and that of her child, who bears his fatehr's (her 'ex's) surname.

Not without permission from either your ex-husband (the child's father) or the family court, after applying for it.

No! Where the mother is single the child automatically bears the mother's name and will only bear the father's surname instead, or bear the surname of both parents, if there is mutual consent.

If the mother is married, and as a rare exception, the Israeli court allows and orders D.N.A testing to be carried out, to establish paternity of a child born to her, where there is no religious prohibtion to this, then the child's surname ( family name) will remain the mother's married name, even if it is the same as her husband's surname, and the testing proves that her husband is not the minor's biological father, but a third party, who impregnated the mother, is the minor's biological father.

Usually paternity testing is refused in Israel where the mother is married, but it may be ordered in exceptional conditions, and especially if there is no religious bar - for example if the mother is Jewish, but her husband is non-Jewish.

Following Israeli family court proceedings, in March 2017 the Ministry of Interior was ordered to register the paternity of a child born as a result of an extra-marital affair between the Jewish mother,( married to a non-Jew), and a single non-Jewish man, but the child's surname remained the mother's married surname.

Only if the father consents. Otherwise, the Names Act of 1956 states that a child born to an unmarried mother bears her surname.

Yes! Although it is preferable for unmarried parents to reach decisions about their joint child’s surname together, by mutual consent, you can bring legal proceedings at the family court to add your surname to your son’s, if his mother objects and the family court has discretion to order the change, despite her objections, if it considers it in his best interests. In August 2016 Tel Aviv Family Court overruled a single mother’s objection to the father’s application to add his surname to that of their 6 year old son, accepting the recommendation of the welfare worker whom it had appointed to report on the matter.

Yes, you do have a choice, and you can refuse to consent. Your 'ex' wife cannot change your son's surname at the Ministry of Interior without your consent - unless she applies and gets a court order. Your son's surname is part of his identity and Israeli law recognizes this- and would ask for your reaction, if she applied for such an order.

Yes - if they both consent to the minor getting a surname comprising of both their surnames, even joined together with a hyphen,according to Israeli law. The 1956 Names' Act states that a child born to an unmarried mother will bear her surname unless she and the father agree to the minor bearing his name.

No! It is not legal,and your 'ex' wife is not entitled to act as she is. If necessary, you can take appropriate action at the family court to prevent your son being called by another surname,which bears a negative psychological message against you.

No, the Names Act of 1956 states that a minor can only change his name if his parents, who are his natural guardians, consent. The fact t hat he is of Barmitzvah age (13), is irrelevant as only civil law regulates changes in names. If you, however, object to your son's proposed name change, he could apply for court permission anyway, via a 'close friend'. The family court would probablyappoint him a solicitor ad litem, to prevent a conflict of interests on your part.