TUCSON, Ariz. — A Tucson mother says naming her son has become a nightmare and blames the Pima County Office of Vital Records for her problem. It all started because the parents took longer than a year to finalize the name for personal reasons.
Laela Olague says her son will be 2-years-old in August and while most kids have a legal name given by their parents, it's something Olague's son still needs in order to get healthcare benefits and more.
"I asked what needed to be asked and I was not told the correct answers. We wanted to name our son based on what's at or near his zenith at the hour of his birth what's in space when he's born," Olague said.
With that thought in mind, the parents decided to wait to choose the right name and were looking at hundreds of options. Olague also says she was vigilant about checking with the county to make sure the law was unchanged. However, when the couple went to get a birth certificate they got some news they didn't expect.
"I made calls to vital records every few months through my pregnancy to make sure there's no new laws legalities that would cause the situation that has happened. I can pay the $20 normal fee for the registration and obtain a copy of his birth certificate with the name "Baby Boy Olague". I can go to court and go through the processes of changing his name which is "Baby Boy" to his name, which is actually Perseus," Olague said.
According to Olague, a Carondelet hospital put "Baby Boy Olague" down as a place holder on the birth record. The hospital has seven days after a birth to file records with the county and state, which is normal protocol. Meanwhile, Olague says she can't afford to pay the fees to make the name change. State officials say each hospital has its own protocol with placeholder names on birth records.
"I'm paying $500 to name my son and other people don't have to do that and it's not right," Olague said.
KGUN 9 made contact with the Pima County Office of Vital Records to find out more about a resolution. According to the county, based on state guidelines the delay is the reason why the parents have to go to Superior Court to get a court ordered name change.
The county also sent the following statement to KGUN 9:
"We’re sorry Ms. Olague is having trouble renaming her child. But the state laws governing such actions are clear, as is the fee structure, and our Vital Records Office is required to follow state statutes and rules requirements for name changes. Our staff is highly trained and very experienced in the relevant statues and requirements, and we strive to consistently provide accurate guidance based on the information we receive from clients. We would not mistakenly or intentionally provide inaccurate information of this sort. All of the requirements are clearly spelled out in state law, and our staff deals with these kinds of inquiries routinely. This is stuff they know very well."
"Because I didn't name him at 1-year-old he's now legally named after his birth record no one told me this would happen after I asked so many times," Olague said.
After weeks of phone calls and emails it was confirmed that it will cost at least $260 to make the name change. The family can also petition the court to waive all of the fees completely and if they don't qualify, they can defer the payment to another date.
"I just don't want this to happen to other people," she said.
Documents for name change and fee waiver: