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DD wants to change her Surname(15 Posts)
My dd is 5. Her father and I officially split up last year although we had been separated for a year before that. In the last few days my dd has realised that she doesn't share her name with any of the family (except her dad, she does not and will not be seeing the more extended family on his side). We were chatting yesterday about seeing all her cousins at a family party she and started reciting/singing (and spelling) their names and (I think for the first time) realised that hers was different which has what has started this all off.
I am happy for her to change her name. I am also happy for her to keep the name she has. I have spoken to her dad and we have both said that her name is her choice. I just wondered if anyone knows how I go about changing her name IF that is what she decides to do. Atm I am just leaving it and waiting for her to talk again, however she has told me again today that she wants to change it, she has told her best friend she's changed it and has started calling herself by my name so for the moment it seems like she is determined to change. I have tried to look online for advice but got a little confused, some sites say for a young child it can just be changed by informing, others say about going to court and others direct you to a form to pay for the change. Can anyone tell me what I legally have to do if she does decide to this name change.
Sorry for such a long post and thanks for reading it!
I don't know the official line but know I used my step-dads name when I was little then back to my dads when dm and sdad broke up. She didn't fill in forms for either change and the school used the name we specified so it could be that simple but maybe not for passports etc??
Thanks, think I will have to tell the school when she goes back in any case since she's been telling her friends!
You can change her name by deed poll if you want it all to be official - so her passport, driving license etc would be in her new name, along with her school certificates, GCSEs etc.
You can also just start using your name and instruct everyone via letter to use that, if you don't want to change it officially.
It costs about £55, I think.
You do need to get her dad's consent in writing if he has parental responsibility.
The document you need is a declaration of change of name (commonly known as a deed poll). It's very simple, you sign it on her behalf of course, and the solicitor will usually give you a few certified copies to give to the relevant agencies. They'll want to see your and her ID (inc her birth certificate) and a letter from her father which they will obtain direct from him.
I used to do name changes for about £80 plus VAT but you may find a precedent online.
Don't know anything about the legals, but...
Officially rejecting a parent's name that you've had up till then is quite a strong symbol and your daughter won't really understand how other people will interpret that decision yet. If I heard that someone who had up till then carried their father's name had changed it, I would understand that as a way of saying "my father is not part of me any more" and would probably assume that the father in question had been at best neglectful.
I don't think I'd let a child make an official decision (ie. deed poll) until they were old enough to see that it might be understood as a symbolic rejection of the father.
I would just say that's your name because mostly in this country you take your dad's name. End of conversation.
From a legal perspective you will require the agreement of everyone with PR for her (i.e. both you and her dad). You're not permitted to do anything like say she has an `official' name and a `preferred' name (some people here try to suggest that can be done...but it can't - you are permitted to cause a child to be known by another name).
A court can make this order, but you would have to prove it's in her best interests and stating she wants it isn't going to be enough as she is too young to understand the implications of such a major decision.
One thing worth considering is though - if she continues to use your name what would she do if you changed your surname (i.e. by marriage?) Change it again to continue to match yours? Or keep it?
There was another one of these threads a couple of weeks ago. Personally I am astounded that children of 5 or 7 years old could give two hoots or even question why their name is their father's and not their mother's/cousins/half-brothers.
I grew up without my father from the age of 6. It never once occurred to me to ask my mother to change my name. Although it was her name too, admittedly. But had she remarried when I was young, and suggested or coerced me to take her new DHs name, I guess I would have done it happily because when you are six these things seem like a a bit of a novelty or an adventure. You don't think about the long term implications or how others might feel about it.
If the child was given her father's name at birth and she still has a decent and regular relationship with her father then I see no reason whatsoever to change her name. Millions of chilren do not have the same name as both of their parents and it is really not an issue unless you secretly want to make it one.
If both parents agree it is as easy as filling in a deed poll change of name form and sending it off with the payment, and then getting passport changed too.
There is a UK deed poll website that has all the info you need.
TheRealFellatio - you're spot on.
My son is 6 now. He spends 60% of his time with his mother, 40% with me. His mum, stepdad and sister all have his stepdad's surname.
Out of the blue a few months be told me that his mum and stepdad had told him that his surname was really his stepdad's and not mine (I was married to my ex and he has it on his birth certificate).
He then told me he'd said to them what his real surname was.
I laughed, gave him a hug and he said no more about it. His mum's got form though - she taught him that his stepdad was his `daddy' and to call me by my first name. That rebounded and he rationalised that if he has two daddies he has two mummies and he now calls my other half `mummy' (which we spent a lot of time trying to convince him otherwise).
Kids are far from stupid.
I would be surprised a child would think of this on her own. I think you should say she can't but if when she is 18 she wants to change it she can then.
Why on earth would I encourage her to change her name. It's all hassle and paperwork as far as I'm concerned. I have a good relationship with her dad and was happy to put his name on her birth certificate.
Unfortunately I am quite well known where I live and she probably spends a lot of time telling people our names differ. I cannot believe people would assume a name change meant abuse, or that I am trying to talk her into it. All I was after was some advice on what to do.
Thankyou to everyone who has tried to help.
When I married DH my DDs who were 6&7 at the time realised that they would have a different surname to me, DH, DSD and DS so they asked to change. I discussed it with exH and DH and reached a compromise that everyone is happy with. Officially their names are the same but school/doctors etc refer to them by the new surname. When they are 13 theu can make a decision (if they want to) to change it by deed poll.
This is an interesting to me because DH had similar as a child. His father died when he was 3 and his DM re-married - and then sent all the children to school (He had 2 younger DCs and 2 half DCs) with step dad's surname. When DH got to 18ish and needed a passport he had to go to solicitors and register that he had always used (step dads) name and had never been known as the name on his birth certificate.
He thinks of himself as the name he has always known (ie step dads). All his documents say it. And our DCs now have that surname. However, now he has sons of his own he does feel a little sadness that his father has been written out of history, as it were. His father was killed at work in his early 20s, and despite leaving two sons his family name has not carried on. He knows nothing of his father or his father's family at all as Dad was Irish, but had moved to Glasgow for work, where he met and married DH's mother. He has never seen a photo of his father. DH was brought up in Scotland in the 1950s, therefore travel was presumably not very easy, and his DM re-married fairly quickly.
DH does have regrets now that he didn't at least keep his father's surname and that he knows nothing of the young man who fathered him and who died before he had any memories of him.
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