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Changing a child's surname

(9 Posts)
izziewizzie Tue 18-Mar-14 13:32:13

Basically, dd aged 6, wants to have the same surname as me and my other child.
Her dad has not seen her in over four years, went abroad to avoid CSA and returned secretly three years ago ( a fact that has only just come to light) he has never contacted her since he left, the couple of visits he arranged got cancelled for "other stuff" and that's it really. No cards or presents since he went, nothing at all.
He has not paid maintenance in four years.
Dd knows about him, but isn't much interested.
I have written to him asking for consent to change her name. He has replied with horror over "his daughter" losing his family name, and said no.
Now, a while ago he asked my DH to adopt her (via text) in order to stop all this ("this" being the CSA) which I have reminded him of.
He has basically said that yes DH can adopt her, but I'm to write to the CSA immediately and withdraw my claim. Then he will write a letter for her to be adopted. But he's not having her name changed, it's basically adoption or nothing.
I have pointed out that adoption can take over a year, is not guaranteed and takes all of our commitment, and not just a letter saying "you can adopt her"
I've told him we are happy to do it (we are) but that in the meantime could we agree on this amicably for her sake, and let her have the name change.
He refuses, and has given me the usual crap that it's all my fault, I stopped him seeing her etc etc.
So, I'm going to need to go to court to do this, which I wanted to avoid.
Does anyone have any advice, or actually done it? I was going to represent myself, but it don't know how hard it might be, although he has not helped his cause with his emails today, but I'm worried I will find myself in some worse situation at court.
I might add, his mum does not have the same surname as him, and he hasn't seen his dad and brother since he was 14 (over 20 years) so there is not a huge extended family with that surname. I know it's dds "roots" but there's not really much there as family goes.
Any advice?
Also I have seen I may be able to do it via deed poll without his consent, but I'm assuming that's not right?
Thanks

babybarrister Tue 18-Mar-14 14:29:03

You are right that itis right to change without his consent or order of court - this is on assumption he has PR so you were married or he is on birth cert

You will need to make an application and use the material you have ....

izziewizzie Tue 18-Mar-14 14:41:29

Yes he is on the Birth Cert.
How much weight do you think the court will set by his offers to my DH that he can adopt her?
I have tried to resolve this with him today, but it have emails full of the usual blame thrown at me.
Do I just put everything on the form and include the emails?
Is there a good chance of me losing? I was going to offer a double barrelled if that's a way forward, with my surname first.
Thanks

izziewizzie Tue 18-Mar-14 16:37:17

Also do I have to go for mediation? It's unlikely he will turn up.

Nappaholic Tue 18-Mar-14 23:10:59

If you were considering a "step-parent adoption" for other reasons, what is stopping you seeking that? You'd need to give notice to your local authority (child services adoption section) three months before an application goes to the court. A social worker will grill you all to ascertain whether or not adoption is in your DD's best interests, and invite the father to give his consent. He could continue to refuse, but if his priority is to avoid CSA then he might consent. If he won't, you can either proceed to court and apply to dispense with his consent, or you could drop the idea at that point....with no fees or costs incurred! Maybe worth a try?

izziewizzie Wed 19-Mar-14 08:48:14

Yes, I did look into that, we don't have an issue doing it per se, it's really the length of time it takes and the level of intrusion into our lives.
I have said that if he agrees to this, I will start the process as it would show me that he was actually serious.
Sadly, if it meant doing away with his CSA, he would agree for the dog to adopt her.
However, he says he will only. Let us adopt her if we stop the CSA claim immediately.
This is the problem, I can see the CSA being cancelled and four years of battling ended, and him then announcing half way through when I have laid out the money that "he didn't mean it anyway and isn't giving consent"
He is a pain in the arse. He wants nothing to do with DD but won't allow any of us to move on

izziewizzie Wed 19-Mar-14 09:04:56

I am also concerned that he will tell a social worker those exact reasons for wanting her adopted, leading to them deciding it's not the best idea iyswim?

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 09:08:40

His consent has to be given to the social worker or cafcass officer in a very formal, prescribed way, right at the end of the investigation, but before the application to the court, so you should keep the leverage with the CSA going right up until the moment he gives his consent to the adoption to the social worker.

It doesn't have to be a lengthy process, the intrusion element isn't too bad as long as all is well with your plans. To apply to the court for a change of name will also take time, and is not a certain outcome, and still leaves the father with PR, CSA etc.

tribpot Wed 19-Mar-14 09:21:40

He won't give his consent to a name change, so that's that - I wouldn't waste much time thinking about it. If your dd wants to have the same surname as you (and I have to say this didn't bother me at all when my mum remarried, at the same age, but everyone is different) you could change yours back to hers for a while.

I certainly wouldn't drop CSA until he consents to the adoption. Why on earth should you?

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