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Changing child's name without knowing where father is

(9 Posts)
gigglekicks Fri 16-Aug-13 09:59:17

My DS has my surname (not his fathers) and I am about to change my name and he would like to have the same as me. His father wrote a letter saying via his solicitor saying he was walking away from his son not long after he was born - 9 years ago. He doesn't pay maintenance, see him, or send cards. I don't know where he is. The last contact I had was four years ago was when a psychiatric hospital rang me and he was detained there. I know he's not there any more.

There are online deed poll companies that say I need to write a letter saying I don't know where he is, and they will issue a deed poll. But will this be accepted by passport office? If not, are there any other options?

familylawyerlouise Fri 16-Aug-13 13:34:17

Your ability to change your son's name depends on whether or not his father has parental responsibility for him. If you were married to the father or your son was born after December 2003 and his father is on the birth certificate then you will need his father's consent. If this is the case and father can't be traced then you will need to apply to the court for a specific issue order and ask the judge to confirm that any change of name is in your son's best interests. You would have to be able to show the judge that you have made all reasonable efforts to locate the father. I'm not sure about the passport office issue - it might be best to check with them directly.

Collaborate Fri 16-Aug-13 13:35:52

You'll need evidence of his consent or a court order.

Most people can be traced (legally) for a fee of under £100. Look online for agencies that offer a no find no fee service.

alepetrucci Sun 25-Aug-13 00:03:20

You do need the father's consent, or else (as other posters mentioned) you'll have to get a Specific Issue Order allowing the change of name.

AFAIK the Passport Office aren't going to accept a letter like the deed poll companies suggest. (Bear in mind that most of them are trying to sell you something too! grin)

There are organisations that can help you locate the father though, e.g. the CSA, or the Salvation Army.

If you want to try and get a court order

alepetrucci Sun 25-Aug-13 00:04:49

If you want to try and get a court order, you have to serve the papers on the father anyway, so you've really got to at least take all practical steps to find him.

PearlyWhites Sun 25-Aug-13 00:06:56

Actually the passport office do accept online deed poll certificates, the wording and the signatories make them a legal document.

prh47bridge Sun 25-Aug-13 02:09:13

That is wrong. Notwithstanding a deed poll, official record holders such as the passport office should satisfy themselves that everyone with PR has consented to the name change. The official position of the passport office when dealing with a missing father is to request a court order even if a deed poll has been provided. That doesn't mean they always do so but it certainly should not be assumed that you will be able to get a passport in the new name simply because you've got a deed poll.

PearlyWhites Sun 25-Aug-13 03:25:55

My dh used to work for the passport office , a deed poll is a deed poll they do not have the time/ resources to check up if the other parent had pr and consented. The onus is on the resident parent to obtain the deed poll honestly.

prh47bridge Sun 25-Aug-13 09:02:43

That may have been so when your DH worked there but things change. In recent times the passport office has tightened up in line with government moves to tighter control over identity documents. For that reason a number of the leading online deed poll suppliers now advise parents that they may need a court order to get a passport in the new name unless they have evidence of consent.

I also note that, in the OP's case, most online deed poll suppliers would want a letter stating what measures she has taken to find the father. Simply saying he is missing would not be enough.

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