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Name changing - children

(10 Posts)
RustyFox Wed 07-Feb-18 11:58:49

Name changed, but I'm a regular poster.

A friend is divorced & has reverted to previous surname.
Friend wants to change her child's surname to append her previous surname as child has father's surname only.
Father of child is NRP with regular contact. Father is in a new relationship and has other children with new partner.
Father is refusing to let friend amend child's surname.

Looking into this I see that the law requires permission from the father. But why? I can understand if the mother wanted to remove his surname and replace with her own, or if she wanted to take a completely new surname for her and the child, but this is not the case.

From my understanding, this man seems to make everything difficult - withholding maintenance until the last minute, paying late, making collection and pick up/return as late as is possible so disrupting the child's schooling. In the past he has been verbally abusive toward friend, her close family and others, and has threatened violence.

Is there anything she can do?

Collaborate Wed 07-Feb-18 13:15:32

She can apply to court. Of course she can't decide this on her own. It's quite reasonable that neither parent can just go ahead and change the child's name whenever they wish.

DropItLikeASquat Wed 07-Feb-18 18:48:01

She can get a sworn statement to say the child is to be know as, some of my children have my surname and some have their fathers, however as an example (names changed for anonymity, my Childs legal surname is 'smith' but on all school records, gp he Smith (known as 'jones'). All his school books, reports, GP letters etc are addressed to Tommy Jones, it just says on record that he known as that surname.
hope this helps.

BubblesBuddy Wed 07-Feb-18 18:50:43

Just don’t confuse the child. Children with multiple name changes don’t like it. They don’t know where they belong. It’s petty to change a name. Just love the child and do what’s best for them and don’t settle scores by using a child.

GreenTulips Wed 07-Feb-18 18:53:44

I agree a child can be known as any name - first or last and the school will refer to them as that

However unless legally the child will have the original name on the certificates

How old os the child and is this their wish?

RebootYourEngine Wed 07-Feb-18 19:08:44

What does the child want?

My ds was about 7 or 8years old when he decided that he didnt want his fathers name. At 10 or 11 years old i said he could but his father wouldnt sign the papers. Ds hadnt seen his dad in years but he still got to make that decision. I just told ds to wait until he was 16 and he can change it without his fathers consent.

prh47bridge Wed 07-Feb-18 20:29:21

She can get a sworn statement to say the child is to be know as

I agree a child can be known as any name - first or last and the school will refer to them as that

No official body should accept the sworn statement or a "known as" name. The courts have been clear on this point.

Official guidance to schools is that they must use the name on the child's birth certificate unless it is clear that both parents consent to the name change or there is an appropriate court order. I am sure that some schools ignore this guidance but the guidance correctly sets out the law.

As has been pointed out repeatedly in this forum, if the father takes this to court he will have no trouble at all getting an order making the OP's friend revert to the child's current name. The courts will not allow people to try and get round the law by using "known as" or similar.

RustyFox Wed 07-Feb-18 20:31:12

I'm wary of disclosing too much information. Child is under 9 years old.
Mother wants to change surname from father's to both - eg. from Smith to Smith Jones.
Child is known by the mothers' name at school and everywhere that there is unofficial name usage, IYSWIM. I believe child is happy with this, and prefers it.
Currently child is undergoing some medical treatment and there seems to be confusion as mother and child have different surnames.

To be honest, father seems to be objecting purely to be awkward. In the same way that he has repeatedly asked for change to arranged contact, has taken child away for a weekend (with his new partner) without mother's knowledge, and has turned up outside her property shouting abuse because she went on a date.
Mother still permits contact as she wants the child to know the father. She keeps opinions about father to a minimum, presenting child with facts - e.g. "Mummy and Daddy are no longer married as they didn't love each other enough." / "Yes, Daddy has a girlfriend now." / "Sorry Daddy can't take you to the zoo this weekend, I'm sure he'll sort out a new day to do it."
Father tends to be malicious. Has been ejected from school premises for becoming abusive when trying to pick child up at a time when he did not have authorisation to do so.

DropItLikeASquat Wed 07-Feb-18 20:51:41

Bold: No official body should accept the sworn statement or a "known as" name. The courts have been clear on this point.

This is what my solicitor did when I got divorced, but TBH I was in a womans refuge and he had been charged and convicted to physically harming myself and my children. The judge said that this was perfectly fine.
maybe my circumstance are unique as it was in the best interests of my children.

prh47bridge Wed 07-Feb-18 21:16:56

maybe my circumstance are unique as it was in the best interests of my children

That is what the courts look at when deciding whether or not to make an order. In most cases they will conclude that it is not in the children's best interests to have their name changed. However, there are exceptions. In your case I would imagine the fact he had been convicted of physically harming your children drove the decision.

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