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Chances of court agreeing to change DS's name?

(8 Posts)
LadybirdSpots Sun 11-Feb-18 21:43:02

I'm hoping this won't be too long, and please try to be kind and non judgemental as I'm very nervous about all of this!

My ex and I had a very bad, unhealthy relationship. There's was lots of mental abuse from him towards me as well as physical. I wasn't perfect, and have never pretended that I was. However he made my life hell and it was awful. He was also extremely controlling.

I ended up falling pregnant (i also have an older son, who was 6 at the time, with a differrnt dad) which I can't say was a mistake because my son is perfect! We broke up when he was about 2 months old, there had been a very violent episode where he tried to kill me, and I called the police. SS were involved and they said they were happy with me and my boys as long as he stayed away and didn't come to the house.

He went through mediation but when i went to the appointment they told me they wouldn't do mediation as DV was involved. So I arranged a contact centre. He didn't ask me too, and as much as i didn't want him around me and my son's I accepted that he was DSs dad, and therefore supervised contact might be ok.

This wasn't good enough for him, and before he'd had his first supervised visit he applied to the courts for non supervised access. After 3 court hearings (him not appearing at the last 2) they made a no contact order as CAFCASS felt that he was not suitable to be around him, and they had advised that he go through all sorts of processes before a final decision could be made, and he reused to do anything they wanted him to do.

The courts also put in place a residency order so that my son lives with me and I also have a restraining order against him, which I also got extended and he was sending me constant threats and abuse, non stop.

My son's surname is double barrelled, with ex's surname and my surname. I want to have ex's surname removed, as well as change his middle name. His middle name is a name I have never liked, and is a family name on ex's side. Family who have not once bothered with DS, made no attempt to see him etc.

I understand that his father will always be his father, and he will grow up knowing that he has a biological father somewhere, but i do not want him to be associated with his surname.

What are the chances of a court agreeing to changing his name? A close friend of mine has messaged him asking politely if he would give permission for me to change it, and he has said "no and the answer will always be no".

He has not seen him since he was 3 months old, (He's now 20 months) he has not paid a penny for 17 months nor has he asked any of my family friends how he is etc. He has made no effort at all.

I am not a nasty horrible person who uses my child as a weapon. My eldest son sees his dad every other weekend and in the holidays, and always has done. We have never needed to go to court, as we have always got on well. I fully believe in children having a good relationship with their father, providing it's in their best interests! My youngest DS will not be safe around his father, and me and my boys are very happy and have a good life together.

Thank you for any advice, I don't want to go through the whole court process if I know there is no is no chance of them agreeing!

Avasarala Sun 11-Feb-18 21:52:43

I'm in Scotland and my kids are 6 and 4 (5 in a couple months). Their dad has seen them since th youngest was 6 months old. And I have the same issue with the name thing. He won't give me permission (it's his last little bit of control so he never will). This is what my solicitor told me -
The courts cannot give you permission to change the name. Only parents with parental rights can do that. All the court can do is remove his parental rights, which would then allow you to go and change the name on your own. Having parental rights removed is very very hard - usually needs to be abuse involved etc. The courts really don't like to sever that tie because, in the end, they want what's best for the child and usually see that as having both parents etc etc. Once the kids are about 11, the court would speak to them and take into account what the kids want. I havnt spoken yo my solicitor in about 3 years but that's everything he said back then.

Not sure if it's different in England/wales/Ireland.

In your case, you probably have a pretty good shot at it - the courts have already stepped in to keep him away from you and the wee one so this is just one little extra step. Go for it; you've got a lot to support you and they cannot argue that it's better to keep that tie to his father after everything else.

Avasarala Sun 11-Feb-18 21:53:23

That was meant to be
*hasn't seen them since the youngest was 6 months.

Familylawsolicitor Sun 11-Feb-18 23:40:26

Courts very rarely grant permission in England and Wales. I think it highly unlikely to be granted after such a short period of no contact.
Your son is very young - many years to come in which he should and could get to know his father if his father steps up. Also bear in mind that your ex will be served with your application and asked to attend court - he may piggy back off the application to renew his request for contact, so could be a can of worms.

Catinthecorner Mon 12-Feb-18 00:12:51

You could always unofficially drop those parts of his name. So use a known name for nursery/school/GP/etc.

prh47bridge Mon 12-Feb-18 07:40:45

Someone on these threads always suggests using a "known as" name. The courts have been clear that official bodies must not accept a "known as" name unless there is evidence that everyone with PR has agreed. Official guidance to schools similarly states that they must only accept a "known as" name if there is agreement from everyone with PR. Of course, some schools don't follow the guidance. But if the father were to find out that a "known as" name was being used he would have no trouble at all getting a court order putting a stop to it.

Catinthecorner Mon 12-Feb-18 10:10:46

The man isn’t in touch, doesn’t pay maintenance, and wouldn’t recognise his own child in a line up. I’d tell the school the father had vanished and take the risk he’d never find out about the know as name

Avasarala Mon 12-Feb-18 10:40:45

My kids used a "known as" name in nursery with no problems. When they started school, it was a bit different.

It's not the schools that decide individually; it's the legal and child departments of the council. You need to fill out a big form with all the evidence to show that everyone with rights has agreed, but there's a lot of sections asking why and what's happened etc. I didn't have permission from their dad, but filled it out fully with everything that had happened and how long it had been since he'd seen the kids. My solicitor wrote a letter to back it all up and sent along copies of all communications with my ex showing he walked away and "wasn't interested in seeking contact".

The council response was "you havn't provided all the necessary proof, however, given the circumstances we will grant the 'known as' name. If the father ever contacts us or the school to complain, it will be changed back but as long as that doesn't happen then there is no problem".

So, yes, there are guidelines but the people reviewing these requests are also human and, at least in my local council, they used common sense. If you don't/can't go the four route, then speak to the school about doing what I did.

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