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Changing 5yo DS' surname by court order with absent father

(15 Posts)
BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 09:48:17

I know this subject has been done to death, but some up to date info would be good. I'll try to keep it brief.

I left DS1's father when he was 16 months old, due to DV. We moved cross country, 4.5 hours away by car. His father has had no contact since - he never applied to court, never made any serious effort, gave up at the first hurdle shortly after the split when I stated through my solicitor that initial contact should be supervised by my parents (it was 3 months after the final assault on me, during which DS1 was held in XP's arms as he attacked me. DS1 was deeply unsettled following this, understandably) and he flatly refused.

DS1 is now 5. XP pays sporadic maintenance through an attachment of earnings order made by the CSA, often no more than £40 per month, if we get any at all. It was never paid willingly, he evaded the CSA for months when I first applied and took cash in hand work at his brother's company, telling the CSA he didn't even claim JSA.

I married my DH last year, by then DS2 had been born and we all share the same surname. I changed DS1's name by deed poll, which I know is not legally binding but it has been accepted by his school, our GP surgery, and the hospital, without any problems. I was able to obtain the deed poll without XP's consent, by writing a letter stating there was historic DV, I don't know his whereabouts, and by providing police case numbers etc.

Now we'd like to apply for a passport for him. I've heard that some passport offices would be satisfied with just his birth certificate and the deed poll, but I realise that a specific issues order made through the court is the only real way to go here.

I genuinely have no idea of XP's whereabouts, nor would it be safe for me to attempt to contact him - it'd be kicking the hornets' nest and he'd see my request for consent as another way of regaining control over me. I cut contact with all mutual friends when I moved. My question is, how likely is it that we would be granted the order?

Kn33 Wed 01-Jun-16 10:20:01

I changed my name by deed poll, never had an issue with anything in my life, passports driving license jobs banks etc... I think the deed poll will be just fine smile

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 10:25:11

Kn33, it's because DS1 is still so little, and for a deed poll to be accepted by the passport office XP would have had to consent to the name change - something he'd never, ever do, because it'd mean he'd lost control over me in yet another way.

I'm debating whether to give my local passport office a call - I'd hate to apply, and pay all the fees, only to be rejected!

TwoLittleBlooms Wed 01-Jun-16 10:37:57

I changed my daughter's name with a change of name deed at a solicitors (not even sure if that is deed poll?!?!?) when my husband and I got married (she was 7). Her birth father had no parental responsibility due to not being married and her born before 2003 (I know the rules changed a few months after she was born so even unmarried parents had PR). I used that document to get her a passport - just her birth cert and change of name deed - no questions or problems and the passport only has her new name.

AStreetcarNamedBob Wed 01-Jun-16 10:49:45

You really wouldn't have any problem with sending the deed poll to the passport office. I think it would be accepted fine and you're over thinking. Try it!

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 11:01:46

Thanks everyone smile AStreetcar, do you think they'd be able to advise me over the phone before I try sending it in?

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 11:30:39

Right, am now waiting for a callback from the passport office - hopefully there won't be a problem, but I won't be surprised if they tell me I need a court order!

Fourormore Wed 01-Jun-16 14:11:39

Does your ex have parental responsibility?

If he does, you need his permission or a court order.
If he doesn't, then you don't.

People always pop up on these threads with their anecdotes but this is the law.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 14:32:00

Fourormore, yes, he does have PR. You've confirmed what I already knew! Do you have any idea how likely it is I'd be granted the court order? I can't seem to find any reliable info online, just plenty of anecdotal stuff and guesswork!

Fourormore Wed 01-Jun-16 14:38:15

It's impossible to say really. My understanding is that the courts are reluctant to remove a father's surname unless it is detrimental to the child to have that name (eg where the father is violent, convicted of a dangerous crime etc and it would be harmful to the child to keep the association). It's probably worth getting some proper legal advice. The school and GP shouldn't have accepted the deed poll either by the way.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 14:47:45

Yeah, that's what I read too. There's plenty of documented evidence that he was violent (police reports etc), and I still have solicitors' letters and all the paperwork for the non-molestation order and prohibited steps order, so I do have all that to hand if the courts want to examine it.

The deed poll people I went through said that there are rarely problems getting schools/surgeries to accept a deed poll certificate, but it's very likely to run into issues if you try to get a passport using it without a court order. I'll have to see if there are any solicitors near me who run a legal surgery, or whatever it is they call it now!

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Wed 01-Jun-16 14:49:42

I also have a family social worker, and she said she's more than happy to write a letter supporting the legal name change, and the reasons why - I have no idea if that'd have any weight with the courts though. I suppose it couldn't do my case any harm.

Kn33 Wed 01-Jun-16 16:18:07

Sorry by 'I changed my name'
It was changed by my mum when I was still a kid.. No problem obtaining a passport with no input from my dad when still under 16 smile

Usedandabusedimhurting Thu 02-Jun-16 16:57:32


Actually as there was domestic violence involved, you don't need his permission to change your child's name. 2 mins and I'll find you the info.

Usedandabusedimhurting Thu 02-Jun-16 16:58:57

Scrap that. You've already done it. Passport should be ok if you include a covering letter with Deep poll.

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