A new law in Spain could spell the end of an era with changes affecting the father’s automatic right to hand his surname down to his children before their mother’s.

Under current law Spanish surnames come in pairs, one from the father and one from the mother. In case of a dispute, the father’s comes first.

A new law proposed by Zapatero’s socialist government is set to bring changes to the table with the surnames to be assigned in alphabetical order – unless instructed otherwise by the parents.

The new law also proposes that unless otherwise agreed, the surnames will go in alphabetical order. The new law will be examined by the Justice Commission of the parliament’s lower house until the 10th November for possible modifications and could come into force within two years.