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AIBU to change my daughters name?

(29 Posts)
katie286 Sun 07-Jun-20 18:23:52

My DD is almost 6 now. I had her when I was a teenager. Her father has not had any contact in 3 years due to several issues that were present from the start (DV, addictions, emotional abuse), although there is nothing legal in place for this.
Since so many years have passed without contact and she is old enough to be aware of circumstances, I would like her to have my name only. Not only would it make things simple (school, doctors etc.) but I hope it would save embarrassment if she ever had to explain to her friends why she has that name.
When I asked her father for permission to do this very politely, he made it clear it was not going to happen, as if it’s the last thing he has ‘ownership’ of.

I would like to point out he has NEVER financially contributed, had another child and convictions for DV against her mother whilst I turned my life around and have my own home, a very stable happy life and I’m almost a qualified midwife.
AIBU to take out a court order and forcibly change it? Would I even be granted permission for this given there is no legal custody agreement in place?

OP’s posts: |
Bigearringsbigsmile Sun 07-Jun-20 18:25:25

I would definitely seek legal advice on the possibility. It makes perfect sense to me.

DuckALaurent Sun 07-Jun-20 18:26:15

Is he on the birth certificate?
I’m not sure but I understood that without his agreement you can’t legally drop his surname. I’m sure someone who knows for sure will be along soon.

Smellbellina Sun 07-Jun-20 18:26:59

My friend was in a similar position when she was growing up, although she officially had one surname she was always known as another.

Smellbellina Sun 07-Jun-20 18:27:13

And actually so did my mum!

BlessYourCottonSocks Sun 07-Jun-20 18:30:40

You can call yourself what you like, without actually having to do so legally - so if he's had no contact for 3 years I would simply inform the school that your daughter's name is changing to (your surname) and they will change the register.

He does not need to know and you can seek legal advice about formally changing it. However, it is fairly easy for your DD to change her name at 18 by deed poll to yours if she wishes to - and if this is the name she has been known by since she was 6 then it is likely she will wish to.

megletthesecond Sun 07-Jun-20 18:30:46

If he's on the birth certificate you almost certainly can't. But I looked into this for mine and sometimes it is possible to double barrel officially. I never got round to testing it though.

I've just double barrelled the dc's names and added mine in the end. XP wouldn't have agreed to it if I tracked him down. School and clubs have always used the double barrelled version, except on the register obviously. And passports and bank accounts are still in their dads name.

2bazookas Sun 07-Jun-20 18:54:56

Just tell the school in writing that your daughter is going to stop using her old name and will just use yours. Would they please amend their records.

lyralalala Sun 07-Jun-20 19:20:54

If you want to double barrel it to add yours then a court is likely to allow that. They’re highly unlikely to allow you to change it completely though as they will view it as her name.

Also it’s not as simple as it used to be changing names at school anymore. Schools have recently become much more aware of the fact that they should not change the child’s known-as surname without the written say so of all parties with PR. Some schools are better than others at adhering to the rules than others.

TriciaH Sun 07-Jun-20 19:22:37

Legally being on the birth certificate gives him rights and to change her name you need consent. Regarding him not supporting her you could have contacted and still can contact cms at any time.

amy85 Sun 07-Jun-20 19:27:31

If he's on the birth certificate you can't without his permission.

Not sure why having a different surname to you would cause embarrassment...I grew up with a different surname from my mum and no-one batted an eyelid 30 years ago...

BeforeIPutOnMyMakeup Sun 07-Jun-20 19:32:02

You cannot just change her name if he's on the birth certificate or has parental responsibility - even though he's pissed off.

You are better of double barrelling it without hypen and putting your name last. Then everyone will think her dad's lastname is a middle name so yours will be used by default in the UK.

BoomBoomsCousin Sun 07-Jun-20 19:36:34

I think your view of things is too short term, it’s unreasonable to force that on her now. Have her use your age most of the time if you want, but don’t legally change her name. It can be a pain to have to document your name changing on official forms and results in questions if it’s not a change due to marriage and that will be a hassle she’d have to deal with for the rest of her life, not just the next 12ish years. If your daughter chooses to take on that administrative burden when she’s older that’s fine, but it should be something she chooses. Loads of kids grow up with different surnames to one of their parents, I don’t see why it would be embarrassing for her.

tara66 Sun 07-Jun-20 19:45:27

You have to be careful that the "correct name" is used for passports and exam. qualificaions if the school is supplied with a different name.

Sarahandco Sun 07-Jun-20 19:45:47

You can go to court and ask them to decide - if he hasn't had contact for 3 years it could go in your favour.

Another thing you could do is change her name to be a double-barrelled with your own. It could be a compromise - at school you can tell them she is legally the double-B name but would like to be known as your surname on a day to day basis.

You would just need to get the father to agree to this and write a letter to include with deed poll. It gives your daughter the option of keeping her name and having your name to be the same. When she is old enough to decide for herself she can drop either name if she wishes to do so.

He is more likely to agree to this and you can tell him it is this or you would ask a court to decide.

FenellaVelour Sun 07-Jun-20 19:47:31

Exactly what lyralalala said.

JudithGrimes Sun 07-Jun-20 19:49:04

I got permission from court to change my dd’s name so it is possible

Angel2702 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:02:34

On a birth certificate it doesn’t usually give the babies surname so if you weren’t married and both your names are on the certificate you could use either surname.

DivGirl Sun 07-Jun-20 20:07:34

Of course a child's surname is on their birth certificate.

Littleposh Sun 07-Jun-20 20:14:22

My DD was given her 'father's' surname but after years of crap and zero parenting from him, I registered her at secondary school under my surname, she used it on social media etc and then when she turned 16 she legally changed it herself before she took her GCSEs

lyralalala Sun 07-Jun-20 20:14:39


On a birth certificate it doesn’t usually give the babies surname so if you weren’t married and both your names are on the certificate you could use either surname.

A child’s birth certificate has their surname on it

ToothFairyNemesis Sun 07-Jun-20 20:16:21

Is the name on the birth certificate? If not you can just change it by deed poll.

lyralalala Sun 07-Jun-20 20:20:06


Is the name on the birth certificate? If not you can just change it by deed poll.

You can’t change a child’s name by deed poll without agreement of all parties with PR

Karenista Sun 07-Jun-20 20:22:39

If he refuses and you decide to add your surname on the end, you don’t even have to double barrel it (I don’t think). So if he was a Jones and you’re a Smith she’d be Katie’sdaughter Jones Smith and can just use the Smith.

Oxfordnono12 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:37:46

You should seek legal advice. It's good to do it now at her age rather than leave it til later on.

My mum would do this when I was younger. (obviously your story is different and you're alot more sure about it) It depended on if she was in good form with my dad or not.
When I reacted 16, my dad had to ring about my national insurance number because I didnt get it (apparently) due to my name being changed so many times. It was so frustrating! I have things from school with different names on it and I hate it. My mother was a complicated women.

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