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Name Change Requests Flood Family Court

Posted November. 24, 2005 08:29,   


An elderly man was walking up and down restlessly in front of a reception desk for name change petitions at the petition office on the first floor of the Family Court at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. In his hand was a Wednesday issue of Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s article: “High Court Makes Name Changes Easier” encouraged him to visit the court for a name change.

His name ends with ‘rang’, a word characteristic with Japanese names. He inquired about the name change procedure, saying that he wants to live the rest of his life with a new name, not a Japanese style name. His case is an embodiment of what the Supreme Court aimed to achieve through its ruling “A name is a symbol of one’s personality through which individuals express themselves. One’s right to a name is the right that individuals can decide for themselves as it is part of one’s constitutional right to personality and to pursue happiness.”

Manager Go, who is in charge of name change petitions at the Family Court, said, “An average of fifteen name change petitions are usually filed on a daily basis. But many more petitions have been filed today. And the number is expected to grow dramatically from now on.”

After Dong-A Ilbo’s report of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which will make name changes easier than before, the petition office was flooded with calls all day.

Manager Kim, who is responsible for civil petitions at the Family Court, said, “I wondered why phones kept ringing all morning until I heard about the report from petitioners.”

Another worker at the petition office told his story: “I received a call from a middle-aged woman in the morning. She asked if she could file a name change petition again after her previous petition was denied, citing the Dong-A Ilbo article. I explained to her that she could make another petition, even though her previous one was denied.”

Officials from the petition office at the Family Court said that an increasing number of petitioners are citing personal reasons for name changes, such as “I want to change my fate”; “I think the new name will make me a better student”; “I can make more money with a new name”; “The new name will bring more profits to my company,” and “My new life after divorce will be happier with a new name.”

Ji-Seong Jeon verso@donga.com