How do you define your life partner

Register civil partnership

If you stand in front of the registrar, he will ask you which name you would like to determine as the civil partnership name. You have the following options:

You do not determine a civil partnership name

If you do not choose a civil partnership name, use the name you had at the time of the marriage after the marriage. In this respect, nothing else applies than for the marriage of spouses.

You wear then different names. You keep a previously used name even if you acquired it through a previous marriage or a previous registered civil partnership. So you are not required to return to your maiden name. This can become problematic if you and your new registered partner are given custody of a child together. You then have to determine the name of the child yourself. The determination of the name is the result of custody. A double name for the child is not permitted.

You choose a civil partnership name

Life partners according to the Life Partnership Act can have one common name or choose a civil partnership name by choosing either your name or your partner's name as the common name. The partner whose name does not become the civil partnership name can add or prefix his surname.

The explanation of which civil partnership name you would like to use should be made when establishing the civil partnership. The registry office with which you want to establish your registered civil partnership is responsible. Regardless of this, you can determine the civil partnership name at any time later. However, the law stipulates that the declaration must then be publicly authenticated. This of course creates additional costs. Public authentication means that you have to notarize your declaration with a notary.

Example: Your names are Benjamin Fröhlich and Nils Bauer. The following constellations are possible:

  • Benjamin and Nils Fröhlich
  • Benjamin and Nils Bauer
  • Benjamin Fröhlich and Nils Fröhlich-Bauer
  • Benjamin Fröhlich and Nils Bauer-Fröhlich
  • Benjamin Fröhlich-Bauer and Nils Bauer
  • Benjamin Bauer-Fröhlich and Nils Bauer

However, you are not allowed to choose your two surnames as double names as the common civil partnership name. So it would not be possible to use the names Benjamin Bauer-Fröhlich and Nils Bauer-Fröhlich as partnership names.

Note that triple names are excluded if a partner already has a double name. You have to decide which part of the name you want to bring into the new partnership. As a rule, you will decide on your maiden name. If your civil partnership is terminated, you keep the civil partnership name even after the termination, unless you declare to the registry office that you will accept your maiden name or a previous name again.

Practical example:

Due to your previous marriage or registered civil partnerships, you have the name: Nils Bauer-Fröhlich. The new partner is now called Müller. In the following, you cannot choose the name Nils Bauer-Fröhlich-Müller as a civil partnership name. The purpose is obvious. The law wants to avoid name chains. It limits the combination options to two parts of the name.

If one wanted to allow triple or even quadruple names, the use of such names would be very difficult and hardly serve the purpose of clarity. Just think of names that are inherently problematic if the person's name is Benjamin Sengscheider-Ulmendinger, for example. If you wanted to add a third name to this name, practical naming would no longer be possible.

Expert tip:

If you have a title of nobility, the title belongs to your real name. “Graf von Auersmacher” is just one single, uniform name. Despite the prohibition of double names, you are allowed to combine this name with other parts of the name. So if you marry Nils Müller, your civil partnership name could be “Gerd Graf von Auersmacher-Müller”. Her partner Nils would then also be called "Nils Graf von Auersmacher-Müller".