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Can a child's name endanger child custody arguments?

Jersey City residents probably know that strange names for children are nothing new, particularly in the celebrity world. If Michael Jackson could call his son Blanket and Jason Lee can name his son Pilot Inspektor, is there really a limit? Furthermore, can the name you give your child come back to haunt you in family court? In one extreme New Jersey case, a couple's chosen names for their children have certainly endangered their right to child custody. The three children, who have been living in a foster home since January 2009, are named Adolf Hitler, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie, and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation.

The brouhaha over the children's names first began in the fall of 2008, when a local grocery store refused to make a birthday cake with the name Adolf Hitler on it.. Soon after, allegations began to surface that the parents were abusive and incompetent. Despite a failed 2010 family court appeal, during which a judge ruled that there was evidence of domestic abuse in the household, the couple still maintains that only the children's names are being called into question.

The main question in this case is how a court views the impact of a child's name on that child's future, and whether applying what most would call unsavory names can constitute child abuse. The parents are currently fighting the court's decision to keep the children in a foster home and have said they hope that the children can come home in December. A New Jersey court reversed charges of child abuse last month, but there is no news as to whether the children will be returned to their parents any time soon.

Source: Time, "Parents Who Gave Children Nazi-Inspired Names Fighting to Regain Custody," Allison Berry, Oct. 26, 2011

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