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informally changing surname

(9 Posts)
doublecream Thu 18-Aug-11 22:27:04

My son has my surname and his father's surname as his surname, ie double barrelled, but not hyphenated. His father and I have never really been together, but we were together for the first three months after our son was born so registered his name together (it's a decision I was never very happy with). Now, 5 years on, my son is starting school and I want to drop his father's name, so he just uses my surname. This would not change his formal and legal documents, just the way he is known on a day to day basis. Can I do this? The school has him registered under just my surname, but I guess when his father finds out he could cause trouble (he will) and insist they use the full surname. Can anyone offer any advice about whether I can push ahead with this and ask for the school's support, or will the father have stronger grounds? It's already an emotional subject so would be really grateful for factual and practical advice! Thank you so much. x

littlemisssarcastic Thu 18-Aug-11 22:58:14

What sort of support would you want from the school?
If your XP finds out and demands you revert to the original surname, what are you hoping to do then?

gillybean2 Fri 19-Aug-11 02:12:35

It is illegal to change a name or cause a child to be known by another name without the permission of all those with PR. The school will have to call him by his actual name if/when your ex doesn't go along with what you want causes 'trouble'.

Your ds's name will then be changed on the register and there may be questions from other dc as to why his name has 'changed'.

Regardless of whether you were happy with it or not your ds's birth was registered with your ex as his fathe ron the certificate and that gives him automatic PR. He was given a name and surname that you agreed to at the time. That is his name regardless of how you now feel about his father and courts are very hot on this one issue; that a child's name is not changed after relationship breakdown unless both parents agree.

Chances are if you don't make a fuss his name will get 'shortened' anyhow. Whereas if you do this and ex makes a fuss the school will have to call him his full name on everything.

Just advise the school of his actual name and avoid any un-necessary confrontation and issues for your ds and for the school, as well as for you with your ex. You will have plenty of battles to fight. Why pick one you won't win and is not important in the grand scheme of things.

Newbabynewmum Fri 19-Aug-11 06:52:59

Your child can be "known as" your surname at his school - you do need to tell them the surname on his birth certificate too.

I'm planning on doing this with my DD - she starts nursery in a couple of weeks - they know her surname on her birth certificate but she will be known as my surname. The same when she's at school.

Then when my DD is 16 she can change her surname to mine if she likes - or keep her dads. Up to her.

That's what I'm doing about it because her dad wouldn't let me change it.

JustForThisOne Fri 19-Aug-11 13:03:09

was going to suggest exactly what NEWMUM is doing
it is not illegal to be "known as", there is even a specific field in all the application forms for child benefit and stuff

OP just do it, it is obviously stressing you out and it will also be easier for him mate to call dc a shorter surname in the long run ;-)

Altough my dc has my own and I am totally RP I want to change it to with the "knows as". DC will not be happy but hey... I will sleep more peaceful nights thinking that the name will not be associated to dc photos "by mistake" that in years of school pictures is bound to happen

Riakin Fri 19-Aug-11 13:06:15

Hi doublecream,

Firstly, you will need to speak to the school immediately to get your childs real name correct. As someone has said already, you are actually breaking the law.

Just be aware that also if you have his "used by name" as someone said that this too can be over turned and likewise a Judge can put a pretty strict order on this.

I find it odd... can i just say do you and your ex have a love hate relationship as to me... much of your OP comes across as "trying to get one over" on him... and you've pretty much admitted you're doing it for a response...

Also gillybean shame on you for "Chances are if you don't make a fuss his name will get 'shortened' anyhow" that is essentially advocation of doing something illegal.

gillybean2 Fri 19-Aug-11 13:36:33

JustForThisOne - the 'known as' bit is meant to be for children who are called something for short. Eg Robert may be called Bob, Rob, Bert, Robbie etc.

A friend called their ds by his initials (in the same way JR from Dallas was). When he went to playgroup the staff called him by his full first name and he had to find a name tag with that name on it when he'd never really associated that with him up till then. His transition would of been much simpler if they'd had his 'known as' name to start with.

Riakin - please stop your witch hunt of me.

signothetimes Fri 19-Aug-11 19:33:41

I would have thought that if it was illegal to have my DD 'known as' my surname, as opposed to the surname she was given when she was registerd, her school would have refused to allow me to have her listed on their register 'known as' my surname. The information I obtained when trying to find out how to go about changing my DD's surname to mine, was that if I wanted to do so, she would have to be 'known as' the surname I wished to change it to, for 2 years, before I could obtain a new birth certificate with the new surname. Then I'd be able to obtain a passport for her, with my surname. I can't change the original, as it's a historical record, but she can have her name 'legally' amended on a new birth certificate after she has been 'known as' mine for a period of 2 years. It might well be illegal to change or obtain an amended birth certificate without the permission of all those with PR, but I don't see how it is illegal to simply have the name noted on a school register as 'x' surname as opposed to'y'. I had no problems changing her surname with her doctor, dentist, library card - you name it, there was no issue whatsoever.

I spoke to my DD's nursery about it, and the head of the school she was to attend 8 months before she started, and neither of them mentioned anything about it being illegal. They were both very accomodating, and talked me through the best way to do it to make it easier for DD to understand.

I spoke to my ex, out of courtesy, and he had no objections to me doing this. If he had objected, I would still have done it. Technically, he doesn't have PR, but he could get it easily enough if this was such a big issue for him. The school and nursery are under the impression that he does have PR, and treat him accordingly. They have never seen her BC, so wouldn't know one way or another who is named as her father - only that I put his details down when she was 1st registerd. I didn't have her b/c to hand when she was reigistered, and they've never asked to see it since.

OP, I think you should speak to the school your DS will be attending, to get advice on this, and see how the school/nursery view this sort of thing and how they would like you/them to handle it. If they understand your reasons for doing this, and you handle this sensitively with your DS, then I don't think there will be any great problem with this. If you simply swap the surname's around, leaving your ex's as a middle name, then at least you are maintaining that part of the name for your DS. The way you have registered your DS is very similar to what we did when DD was registered, but I've now simply swapped the names around, so DD is 'known as' my surname.

If the school/nursery say yes, they'll amend the register, and any objections your ex has, or fuss he creates, won't automatically mean they'll change the name back just because he creates a fuss. It's far too unsettling to have the surname 'chopped and changed' IMO and I doubt they would be party to creating a situation that would unsettle your DS, with all the questions that would follow. I also think they would be more sensitive to how this looks to your DS, and if he has already been told, in a way he understands, that he is 'known as' your surname, they'll not just change it to keep your ex happy. Neither your ex's feelings, nor yours, are important - it's your DS's feelings that matter.

If you are worried about the fall out with your ex, get advice on how to go about it from the school, ask them questions about any problems you anticipate and see how they would deal with it. And if you can, speak to your ex about it - emphasise that you aren't changing the b/c, or his surname legally, he'll simply be 'known as' your surname with his still there as an unused part of the surname/middle name. If he still objects, then you need to explain the situation to the school, and see what they advise you can then be done i.e. leave it as it is, or change it to the 'known as' name. That might diffuse any 'fall out' you anticipate.

I've genuinely not been aware of this being illegal, in all the research I did before I did anything about it. This is the first I've heard anyone say it's illegal to to this. That is surprising to me, given that I've done it grin and no one has said no, you can't do that, it's illegal etc.

signothetimes Fri 19-Aug-11 19:55:59

Sorry, jusr re-read the OP - you already have your DS registered with your surname. If the school has done this with no qualms, then maybe just talk to them about what would happen if your ex does object to this. If you have an agreed response to an objection from your ex, or at least know how the school would deal with this, then you'll know what to expect if the ex does 'kick off'. As I said, I've done it, and I've had no issues whatsoever with requesting it, and having it agreed.

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