Couple advised to divorce for names

Nov. 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM
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OREBRO, Sweden, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A Swedish couple said officials in the country told them they would have to get a divorce to get the same name for their whole family.

Jenny Stagsegel Johansson and Henrik Johansson of Orebro said they were not married when their first child, Tuva, was born, so they were able to give her Stagsegel, which was then Jenny's last name, as a middle name and Johansson as a surname, The Local reported Wednesday.

However, they married before the birth of their son, Neo, and the Swedish Tax Agency refused to allow them to give him the same middle name, as the country's naming laws do not allow for middle names to be passed down.

"I wanted to pass on the name because it is so uncommon, but we were turned down because I was married and was called Johansson," Jenny Stagsegel Johansson said.

However, the couple said they were told they could get a divorce and then remarry, giving Henrik the opportunity to add Stagsegel to his own name and allowing them to pass the name down to Neo as a double surname.

"We think it is ridiculous that it should be this way," Jenny said.

Ingeregerd Widell of the Population Registration Office, a part of the tax agency, said naming laws are complicated but she does not agree with the advice given to the couple.'

"That's the most stupid piece of advice I have ever heard. That is not good guidance," she said.

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