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Can anyone help please?

(32 Posts)
Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 18:01:53

Husband is adopting my children. Biological father been absent for 6 years. Children have had no contact whatsoever. No maintenance has been paid. I had no idea where biological father even was. The court have searched for him in order to complete the process.

Initially, bio father said to ss that he was happy for the adoption to go through. Then, at court, he contested. Everything had gone in our favour up to that point, social services and cafcass had made their recommendations totally in our favour.
The judge allowed him to meet with cafcass again. A second report will be filed before next court date which is soon.

Cafcass have rung to let us know that this new report will also be in our favour because bio father will not be contesting any further. He will give his blessings and disappear on one condition...that the children keep his surname.

Now, we're not really happy about this, we, and more importantly the children want us all to be a family in every sense of the word. Husband and I are married and share a name and we also have children together with the same surname as us. I know that they can be 'known as' for the rest of their lives but they will always have to use bio fathers surname formally and they don't want that.

I was wondering about our options if anyone can shed any light. Do we tell the judge this isn't acceptable and see how we go with that? (potentially it could string this out even more?)
Or is the most sensible choice to agree to his request (in order to get the order through with no more hassle, it's been a really tough and long couple of years) then change their names by deed poll because husband and I will be the ones with complete parental responsibility?

Will that still be possible if it's in a court order that dc keep bio fathers name?

(before anyone says about asking our solicitor, we don't have one, our case has been so good that a solicitor advised us not to waste our money by employing him!)

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 18:32:37


I'd really appreciate some knowledge and advice.

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 18:34:31

Personally i would hold your nerve and refuse.
Birth father is not likely to get anywhere at all with this as he has had no contact etc and wants to use agreeing as a bargaining chip. Hardly putting the kids interests first!
Judges wont be impressed and even if they go through the motions of giving him leave to appeal it will only be a cursory nod to the system so that he cannot appeal at a later date.
I would make it clear that your childrens needs are paramount and they want to be adopted and take their stepfathers name so in my opinion you need to fight for that.
I have researched a lot on contested adoptions and honestly think it may hold it up a bit but will not stop the granting of an ao .
Good luck with it all please update us if you can x

CrazyCatLaydee123 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:34:34

I don't know anything about the legal ins and outs, but I would be telling him to do one! How dare he suggest that they take his name when he has never had any involvement? I am sure any judge would agree.

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 18:36:47

Ps dont know that you would be able to change names at a later date as you would need the courts permission surely due to court order.
So stand firm is my advice x

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 18:42:59

Thank you for the replies. Your advice gives me the courage to protest.

We are desperate to see an end to it now but everything in me feels the need to fight him on it. It's what the children want and their feelings been the most important thing throughout this whole process.

The judge is a fiery woman who seems like a no nonsense sort so hopefully she'll see right through his crap and agree with us!

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 18:44:43

P ps it may reassure you to know that judges v rarely go against cafcass recommendations so as they are on your side even more reason to not sgree.

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 18:54:10

Phew. You are making me feel better flapjack! Thank you for reassuring me.

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 19:11:28

Well as you probably know cafcass are appointed by the court to be independant of all parties and represent the best interests of the children involved so their recommendation is v v important and judges rarely go against it. That is not to say they cant do so but v unlikely.
Have you asked cafcass for their advice? They may be willing to speak to you off the record and reassure/advise you?

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 19:22:25

She's been fab really, she's repeatedly made the effort to let us know what's happening before the reports have been filed and giving us the info up thread. I think that's as far as she's prepared to go though and we were reluctant to push her to be honest. I suppose it's hard to judge how far to go without going too far iyswim?

She did ask the judge at the last hearing to dispense with any further hearings because it wasn't in the best interest of anyone. Everyone was 99% sure that birth father wouldn't show up after he'd failed to keep appointments with both cafcass and ss. But there he was on the day. Cafcass officer was ill and unable to attend and I think this why the judge gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Hels20 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:31:37

Can your ex partner do this? Once an adoption order is granted - he loses any parental rights - so if you want to change your child's last name - surely you can by deed poll? It's like a birth mother wanting DS to be known as X. We actually changed his legal name for security reasons - though we call him the name his birth mother gave him.

Have you spoken to a solicitor? Can your ex partner successfully enforce this? I don't see how.

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 19:35:12

That's what I was wondering Hels. Yes, he won't have any rights at all.

I haven't spoken to legal about the name thing. We only found out today actually that that is his plan.

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 19:48:49

I would imagine it would depend on whether the ao specifically said they must keep old surname. If it did then presumeably op would have to go to court to get permission as i assume anything specified in ao is legally binding?
I am no legal expert though just going on the understanding that things like direct contact specified as a condition of an ao cannot then just be ignored.
Why not ask ss to consult their legal team about this on monday then you will have all the facts at hand ?

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 19:54:49

That's exactly my worry flap.

I think I will do that, our sw is nice, although getting answers from her legal is like drawing blood from a stone!

I'll update soon. Next court date is not very far off at all.

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Jan-17 20:18:02

What about the mumsnet legal board?
Maybe someone on there could give you some pointers re legal situation!
Worth a shot ??

Anothernamesake Fri 27-Jan-17 20:23:16

I'll give it a go, thank you.

Kewcumber Sun 29-Jan-17 13:24:54

I have no knowledge or experience of this but if I were a judge I would throw it out as being ridiculous.

He is prepared to relinquish all parental rights and not see the children EVER but the fact that they keep his surname is whats important. Sod that for a game of soldiers that is absolutely not whats in the best interests of the children. It smacks of a total lack of consideration of the children and all about him keeping control.

I'd keep firmly talking about best interests of the children and show him up for the inadequate father that he is...

crispandcheesesandwichplease Sun 29-Jan-17 13:40:18

OP the birth dad cannot agree to the making of the Adoption Order with conditions. He is relinquishing his PR by agreeing to the order and I'm sure the Judge will understand the children's needs to have the same name as the rest of their siblings. It's an issue of 'identity' which the court will recognise as important to the children.

Even if you got an odd Judge (and there are some out there!) who agrees to birth dad's request you can do what you want after the making of the Adoption Order in relation to names as only you and your partner will have PR.

I'm an ex CAFCASS officer btw.

Anothernamesake Sun 29-Jan-17 15:10:59

Thank you crisp! You've been so helpful.

Kr1stina Sun 29-Jan-17 16:44:55

The court will care about what is in the children's best interests and it's hard to see how this is.

Bio parents often request that the child's name is not changed and social workers are often sympathetic but courts are usually less so. I think it's because SW are often emotionally invested with the BP but guardians ad litem / CAFCASS are not - they are focussed on the child.

The court can put aside BF consent if they feel he is withholding it unreasonably.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Sun 29-Jan-17 17:17:28

Kr1stina you are quite right, if birth dad starts messing about or saying he'll only agree on condition that the children retain his name the court can and will dispense with his consent to the making of the order, which in normal language means the court can choose to take his consent away due to him being unreasonable. His request is not, in my experience, reasonable.

Anothernamesake Sun 29-Jan-17 19:34:18

Aww you guys are great, thank you so much for the advice.

You're right crisp it's not reasonable at all. I am going to fight this.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Sun 29-Jan-17 19:42:30

Good luck with it Another, please let us know how you get on with it.

Anothernamesake Sun 29-Jan-17 20:00:21

Just one more thing crisp if you don't mind me asking more of you....When is the best time to start arguing our side of this? Do I need to wait for it to be brought up in during the next hearing? Or, do I contact the children's solicitor?

crispandcheesesandwichplease Mon 30-Jan-17 17:15:33

Hi, I'm not sure what you mean by the 'children's solicitor', do you mean the one for the local authority?

You need to let both the social worker and the CAFCASS officer know your family's wishes re names and make sure they know before the next court hearing.

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