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Length of the name

In Massachusetts, first names must be 40 characters or less. Several other states also limit the number of characters, usually due to the limitations of the software used for official record keeping.

Naming your child

via Giphy

Special characters

In California, a name cannot contain special characters like umlauts, diacritical marks, or pictograms, but apostrophes and dashes are allowed. So you while couldn't name your child José or Lucîa, De'wayne or Jo-Ann would be fine. Massachusetts and Kansas have similar restrictions. Texas limits the use of Arabic characters, but does allow Roman numerals.

No effing way!

It should be common sense, but in some states, you cannot use profanity as a child's name. For example, New Jersey statutory law permits the State Registrar to reject any chosen names or surnames that contain an obscenity.

Last word on the last name

In many states, a child's last name must be somehow connected to the parents'. Some states are more restrictive than others—for example, Tennessee and Louisiana require the baby to carry the father's last name in every circumstance. Other states (Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, Washington, and South Carolina) have no restrictions on the choice of the last name.

A girl has no name

Strangely, most states don't require you to name your child at all. States like Nevada and Michigan don't require parents to submit a name to the state—or even choose a name at all. (But just imagine trying to get your kid's attention on the playground!)

legally naming your child

via Giphy

Ultimately, naming your child is a very personal and sentimental choice, and the decision is up to you. But if you're worried about running afoul of the law, Ask a Lawyer about that unusual superhero name before going to the registry—just to make sure little Wolverine can have a name.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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