Like many new parents, they disagreed on the name to give their baby.
She suggested a middle name that reflected his cultural heritage. He wanted to call their son “Vader”, as in the Star Wars character Darth.
The couple eventually settled on a more conventional first name for their child. But they still ended up in the Family Court, trying to resolve the full name by which the boy would be known.
“The question of what name the child would be given by the parents had caused considerable difficulty between the parties,” Justice William Johnston noted in a recent judgment, delivered in Sydney.
The mother and father were given the court-ordered pseudonyms Ms Furst and Mr Koruba. She was European; he was Australian with African heritage.
When their son was born in 2015, Mr Koruba wanted to call the boy Vader, “after Darth Vader, the fictional character in the iconic movie Star Wars“, Justice Johnston said.
Ms Furst scotched that idea, and they agreed on a different first name. The boy was given a middle name meaning “song”, identifying a particular African clan, and the surname Furst.
The parents went to court after their relationship broke down, with Mr Koruba giving consent for Ms Furst to live with their son in Europe. However, he wanted the boy’s name to be changed to Furst-Koruba – something the mother opposed as too “exotic” for her traditional culture.
She was “concerned that the child would be embarrassed by a last name which differed so much from that of herself and her family and from others in the area” and thought it may make him confused about his identity, Justice Johnston said.
The father then applied to have Koruba added as a second middle name for the boy, but Ms Furst objected. She argued that if Koruba was going to be added, their son’s current middle name should be dropped.
The father submitted in court that it was “mean and petty-minded … when there is special significance to the child in the two proposed African names”.
Justice Johnston ordered that Koruba be added as the boy’s second middle name, saying it could “only promote the likelihood of the child having a meaningful relationship with his father, connection with his paternal family and serve as a reminder of his background, culture and heritage”.