A new case in Georgia is making headlines around the world and it involves the naming and surname of a child. The state has specific laws on what a child’s last name can and cannot be after birth, and one couple is challenging the state’s law.

There are thousands of cases in Georgia each year involving paternity. If you have a question about your rights as a father, then Vayman & Teitelbaum can help. Their experienced family law attorneys can give you insight on paternity and legitimation.

Georgia Court Battle

A Georgia couple is going to Georgia state court following the public health department’s refusal to grant their daughter the last name “Allah.” The couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk, have been desperately trying to name their child ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah. However, due to Georgia law, the couple is unable to legally give their child the last name.

The couple’s fight has now become a lawsuit against the state to gain the right to give their child the surname “Allah,” and media outlets around the world have taken notice.

What is the Problem?

Georgia law states that parents must only give their child the surname of the mother, father, or a combination of both. In addition, the name must also be in accordance to the relationship the two have. If a couple is married, the child automatically takes the father’s name. If the child is born out of wedlock, the mother’s surname is attached until a petition is signed and the child takes the father’s surname.

In this case, the parents are not married. Meanwhile, the two are attempting to give their daughter, ZalyKha, a surname that is not in accordance with the prescribe Georgia law.

According to Georgia law: “The parents may designate a surname that is not the legal surname of the mother or father, if that surname is chosen in accordance with a bona fide cultural naming convention practiced in the nation of origin of one or both of them.”

Those in charge have thus far not seen the connection to naming practice.

What Could Happen?

The American Civil Liberties Union has gotten involved with the case, and the Washington Post believes the lawsuit could have far-reaching effects on child naming in the United States.

Zalykha’s brother, Masterful Mosirah Aly Allah, was given the same last name that the parents are trying to legally give their daughter. When the parents registered the little boy’s name, no one raised any question over his surname. Now the parents will use that as part of the lawsuit against the state.

Vayman & Teitelbaum Can Help  

The law firm of Vayman & Teitelbaum can provide you with legal guidance when it comes to paternity. With four locations in Georgia, Vayman & Teitelbaum, Attorneys at Law, is available to give you insight into paternity and legitimation. Visit our dedicated paternity page to see how we can help you. If you have any questions, contact us and let our experienced attorneys in family law go to work for you.