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State must use maiden names

Letters will use surname from birth unless recipient specifically agrees to be known under married name

MARRIED women should receive official letters in their maiden name instead of their married name - after MPs voted to clear up the rules used by the French administration.

From now on, a woman's surname at birth will be the default option used by government bodies, the tax office and any other state organisations.

Her married name will only be used if the recipient specifically agrees to the change.

Laws have existed since the French Revolution stating that "no citizen can use a first name or surname other than that written on their birth certificate" - but many official organisations address both partners by the husband's surname.

Since last year, the French tax return has included a tick box for women who wish to use their birth name. The new rules, put forward by two Socialist MPs, Axelle Lemaire and Sébastien Denaja, would mean the opposite choice would apply.

The change is part of a wide-ranging equality law being discussed by the National Assembly.

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