Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom initially tabled legislation allowing parents free choice. At the last minute Christian democrat lawmakers got cold feet and a more modest change was adopted.
The Christian democrat lawmakers were concerned that a wealth of options would create chaos and backed the idea of giving children the surname of father followed by that of the mother unless parents make a different choice. A compromise was then worked out allowing four different options: the parents’ surnames in the order of their choice, the father's name or the mother's name. If the proposal receives the backing of a majority in a plenary session of parliament the surname of Belgian children will in future consist of the surname of the father followed by that of the mother. The other options – mother’s surname first, father’s or mother’s name only -will be available on request.
Under the proposal parents will also be able to change the current names of all their underage children.