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Childs Name Change without consent of father

(30 Posts)
nailbiter13 Sat 03-Oct-15 13:10:03

Hi All, I have already changed my DS' surname by deedpoll, but I would like his passport changed to (ASAP if possible) but...
1. my ex was abusive, he made threats, reported to the police etc
2. hasn't had contact for 5 years, never paid child support or asked for contact.
3. I don't know his whereabouts

Has anyone gone through the courts with a name change without the fathers consent? How did you do? Was it a long process? Any advice?



summerwinterton Sat 03-Oct-15 13:29:43

you just use the deedpoll to change the name on the passport?

How old is DS?

Allthefours Sat 03-Oct-15 13:46:04

I changed my DD name by deed poll without her fathers permission. Her passport is due to expire and she is going away with her friend at Christmas. I contacted the passport office and they told me that to change the name on the passport we had to either have a court order in place or a letter of consent from her father. DD has had no contact with her father for 9 years, but we do know where he lives and he does reluctantly pay a pittance pay child maintenance. There is no way he would agree to a name change and I understand a court order costs around £200. I guess you could apply for a court order especially as you are totally non contact and do not know his whereabouts. For DD's trip she will travel on her existing passport in her old surname - it is due for renewal 2 weeks after her 16th birthday at which point we do not need fathers consent.

It is a midfield of red tape sadly. I hope you manage to sort something out.

marzipan123 Sat 03-Oct-15 21:45:41

I have never been in this position. But if you were married and as husband and wife you had children and they were given their fathers surname as is the custom here in England, why when you divorce would you think the child should change it's name? Surely that must be confusing for a child. Suddenly they are know as somebody else. I have always understood the fathers consent is needed for a name change. I am a mother myself. I was divorced. It would have never occurred to me to change my sons name. What would that say to him? What advantage could there be?

bettyberry Sat 03-Oct-15 22:01:26

marzipan123 some children want to. Some mothers want all their children to have the same name. Being a child with a different surname to siblings I get the desire for them to have the same surname. You fit in.

other mums are running away from abusers, want a fresh start etc etc. The reasons for it shouldn't be questioned because its rarely done on a whim

OP It all depends on whether the father has parental responsibility. -- some info on who holds it and I am guessing you will have read this and the fact it all lies on parental responsibility and if the fathers name is on the birth certificate and the year your DS was born.

As for the courts, because you were a victim of domestic violence you should be able to go through the process easily and the court can grant you the order without needing to see the father because of the abuse. It should be pretty straight forward and will cost, as pps said, £200.

It is worth seeing a solicitor to get advice to check however.

I am currently working my way through this myself but with my OH adopting my DC and assuming parental responsibility along with myself. DC father hasn't had contact in over 6 years now and I want the security of if something should happen to me where would my DC go also... inheritance. I want DC to have same rights as future DC iyswim.

marzipan123 Sun 04-Oct-15 05:01:05

I see. I find it astonishing to learn that your children's father has not had contact with them for six years! It is beyond my comprehension. My son is divorced and lives very close to me. We all get withdrawal symptoms if we haven't seen the children for a week. My son would love to have the children more, ie, 50/50 and they would love to see him more, but mother won't allow it, just because. So he sees them every second weekend and picks them up from school and has them one night a week. They adore their daddy and he adores them. My son is trying to get half the holidays so he can take them away for a summer holiday. At the moment she won't allow it and let's him have the odd day only. The children are 9 and 7 not babies.
It seems a tragedy when one father has no interest in seeing his children and another is desperate to see them and is deliberately prevented from doing so. However the government are on to this deliberate exclusion from loving fathers and are changing the rules. You are lucky to have found someone who loves your children and is prepared to be a father to them. Good luck.

nailbiter13 Sun 04-Oct-15 07:28:54

Passport office need a court order.

nailbiter13 Sun 04-Oct-15 07:35:09

My son is eight, I also have a 1 year old with my new loving partner and both children use my everything BUT the eldest sons passport. I wouldn't ask the father to relinquish PR just to be practical and help with our son's opportunities with travel. Even though he abused me for years my son doesn't feel any bitterness towards his father as he is half of him I have never said a bad word against him. I am still in contact with his father's family who all have different surnames too. I just want it sorted. Hopefully will speak to a solicitor tomorrow.

TeapotDictator Sun 04-Oct-15 07:38:15

marzipan when you say "the rules are being changed" what do you mean? The law is already very used to fathers bringing cases requesting contact with their children and in my experience, having been through the system myself, respects their rights as much as it does mothers. Your son is already able to make a simple application to the courts to request half the holidays and more contact. At his children's ages their wishes would be taken into consideration and if it is deemed in their interest then he will be awarded more contact. Be wary of it always apparently being someone else's fault that he doesn't see more of them - if it's in their interest and he goes to the trouble of applying to court, he is very likely to be successful. Half the holidays is bog standard, so what's stopping him?

bettyberry Sun 04-Oct-15 07:39:10

OP, solicitor will help. I take it his name is on the birth certificate so the only way forward is court order but like I said, Given your history you should be awarded it. My DC is 8 too so the new rules apply. DC father refused to put his name on the birth certificate.

Itisbetternow Sun 04-Oct-15 07:45:25

Marzipan - lots of fathers get 50:50 now it is pretty common. Your son needs to see a solicitor and go to court. It is what is in the best interests of the children.

CuttedUpPear Sun 04-Oct-15 07:58:11

Marzipan I think you need to start your own thread and not derail this one.
And I wonder what hedge you have been hiding in - a look around MN would show you that absent and disinterested fathers are hardly an unusual thing.

marzipan123 Sun 04-Oct-15 08:09:22

Yes he knows he can go to court and if he cannot make any progress with mediation, which he has been trying, he may do so. He was initially reluctant to go to court over the children as he was trying to do it amicably. He did not want to strain relationships any further for the children's sake. He did not want them to have to be interviewed or upset in any way. However, at mediation his ex refused to be in the same room as him, so negotiation was tricky. We can't understand why she would be like this. He has always been an exemplary father. His ex fell in love with the carpenter who was fitting the kitchen and decided to end the marriage. So it's not that she is bitter about him going off with another woman. The 9 year old had asked her mummy if she could see daddy more, but mother told her it's best if you only have one home and visit daddy occasionally.

We thought her position on him having access to children had something to do with her being awarded a bigger portion of the assets for a house and maintenance. Thinking that when she had got that sewn up she would relax about the children. If she doesn't, then my son will have to go to court as he does not want to be messed around as far as holidays are concerned for years. Obviously as the children get older they can vote with their feet. But even that puts them in a difficult position as far as loyalties to their parents.

Obviously nothing is ever discussed in front of the children, fortunately their mother does not seem to be discussing things with them either. I guess it's quite usual for a mother to think the children are hers. I think we may have problems if and when my son gets a new partner. That often seems to cause issues!!

This thing about it being in the child's interests is a thorny subject. Apparently even though 50/50 is more common, it is still not the norm. A barrister friend of my son said be wary of going to court as sometimes you end up with less than you had. Best to sort it out between yourselves. I think my son would be happy if he had every other weekend, on night in the week and half the holidays. He would have like 50/50 but is willing to compromise. I guess it's only for a few more years as the children are 9 and 8. It won't be long before they make their wishes firmly known!!

Zampa Sun 04-Oct-15 08:09:23

To be fair to Marzipan and her son, court action is expensive and self-representation is often daunting. It's often quite hard to get to a court too, what with the emphasis on mediation.

OP - courts generally don't like changing a child's name. However, if it can be argued that the child may be at risk without a name change (abusive parent etc), it's a different matter. Afraid I've no experience of going through the process without both parents present though. Good luck!

TeapotDictator Sun 04-Oct-15 08:27:02

Court action does not need to be expensive. You can take a McKenzie Friend if you are trying to keep costs down. For my final hearing re. the children I took a junior barrister and his fees were £800. It can be done.

marzipan I'm sorry but your tone is slightly irritating to me, who could well be the mother you are talking about. I'm sure my ex's side of the family also make themselves feel better by saying that I pursued my case because I wanted a larger slice of the assets. Far from being the case that I guess it's quite usual for a mother to think the children are hers, in my experience over the past three years of getting to know many many women going through a similar trauma, it is far more common for the women to be trying desperately to do what is in the child/ren's best interests.

50/50 is not the norm because the courts do not often deem it in the child's best interests. Children are not possessions like record collections to be 'split down the middle'. In my case the court awarded half the holidays, three nights every other weekend, and a midweek tea (progressing to an overnight as the children get older).

Never assume that what you're being told is the whole truth. My ex bleats on to anyone who'll listen about how he'd love to have 50/50, but the reality is that he voluntarily moved a long way away, it wouldn't have been fair on the children, the transport arrangements would have been a nightmare, and he was never a primary carer. It would never have worked, but telling everyone that's what he wants and that he's not allowed it makes him sound so doting, doesn't it?

OP sorry for the derail.

Sighing Sun 04-Oct-15 08:36:10

marzipan123 are the children 9 and 7 or 9 and 8?
Back to the OP, have you posted on this before (though it is of course too familiar a situation)?
I have 2 children with a different surname to me. If you're concerned about the consent letter that is expected from the father I've never been asked for it. My DD1 was asked who she was travelling with once. She said 'mummy". That was all that ever happened.

marzipan123 Sun 04-Oct-15 09:34:46

Sighing -no I have never posted before on this issue. I think this is probably a very common situation and no doubt there are many posts about it. 9 and 8 - one has just had a birthday!

Cutteduppear- sorry, didn't mean to derail post! Apologies!!

Teapot dictator - this is a very emotive issue. I certainly don't want to upset anyone. I may, in the past, had I been in a similar situation have felt like you do. However whilst spending the majority of time with their mother may be in the child's best interest in many cases, it is not always the case.

I am aware that children are not possessions to be divided up like recored collections. But their views should be taken into account and not ridden rough shod over by either parent.

I don't assume what I am told is the truth, but in this particular case I do know the truth. The father in question has works very flexible hours and can be available for the children whenever necessary. The mother, rather than allow him more access, sends the children to others to care for while she works rather than let the father have them. There are fathers who bleat on about how unfair it all is, however there are also wonderful fathers who lose out. More to the point there are wonderful children who lose out.

I know most mothers are not like this and are concerned with their children's well being above all else. But there will always be mothers driven by other emotions. It will always be an emotive issue and sadly will continue to be so as divorce increases.
I understand my comments may be irritating to you as these issues bring up things which have upset us hugely in the past. I certainly don't want to upset anyone. We are all influenced by our own experiences.

Bellemere Sun 04-Oct-15 09:43:35

You cannot change your child's name by deed poll without the fathers permission. Whatever bit of paper you have acquired or paid for saying that your child has a different surname is not valid. You are not allowed to let your child be known by another surname - some schools and GPs fall foul of the law but there is no such thing as a "known by" name for those purposes.

Just do it properly and get a court order. Was the father abusive to the child or to you? Getting the fathers surname removed is very difficult. The fact that he hasn't had contact for so long will be in your favour but the court will take seriously the implications of severing this further link to his father.

TeapotDictator Sun 04-Oct-15 09:49:37

Yes marzipan and for the small minority of mothers you mention, there is a legal system which works wonderfully (almost all of the time; nothing is perfect) and is well versed in supporting fathers who have been alienated. I had dealings with several judges and all of them took the father's concerns very seriously. Which is why in your son's case he needs to go down official channels if indeed the mother is so intractable.

I'm a bit suspicious that the barrister your son spoke to said that you should be wary of court proceedings because you often end up with less than what you started with. If he thought your son had a good case he wouldn't have said that and would be encouraging him to fight for what was clearly right for both the children and for your son.

TeapotDictator Sun 04-Oct-15 09:51:33

Just adding the caveat that yes, clearly mediation needs to be attempted first. But it's not something that needs to have too much time spent on if it's clearly not working. Your son also needs to act quickly because the courts take the status quo to be very important and the longer that he has less contact than is good for the children, the harder it will be to change it.

TeapotDictator Sun 04-Oct-15 09:53:03

One last post marzipan (I promise grin) you say "But there will always be mothers driven by other emotions". Well yes, there will always be ^PARENTS driven by other emotions; cuts both ways.

Bellemere Sun 04-Oct-15 09:57:35

Teapot, that's a very optimistic view of the family courts, I have to say.

marzipan123 Sun 04-Oct-15 10:05:48

Thank you for your advice teapot dictator. As they are still 'mediating', too much time has not really elapsed. Funny thing is, if he just decides, this is too difficult, it's stressful for everyone, perhaps she is right, let's leave it as it is....

This gives him much more free time and I can imagine if he starts gadding about and having single type holidays, she may then complain it's all right for him and why can't he have the children more!, lol!! We wait and see.

Believe me adult children can't imagine how stressful their divorces are for grandparents.

whatwherewhen Sun 04-Oct-15 12:47:26 are quite wrong in what you're saying.

I changed my children's names by deed poll without the fathers consent (absent 8 years) and without a court order.

They were also supported by SS with this decision (long drawn out process after S7 done)

You however cannot change passports without a court order, I have personal experience of this also, child has to be 16 for that to happen.

Bellemere Sun 04-Oct-15 13:32:57

No, I am not wrong. You either need permission from the other parent with PR or you need a court order. SS are not legal advisors and often give poor advice where legal matters are concerned. Your deed poll is not legally valid, even if other places have accepted it without realising it isn't valid.

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