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changing a childs surname......

23 replies

iliketosleep · 19/12/2008 01:30

If the ex wont agree.

I am getting married tomorrow and dd1 will be the only one with my maiden name double barrelled with his. She wants to take my married surname but i know know know he will not let her. Can she just let herself be known by this name as long as she uses her real name for important documents and then when she reaches the right age change it herself by deedpoll? She is 8 by the way and cannot stand him and hasnt seen him for over 2 years yet he still keeps dragging me to court

OP posts:
Sally4484 · 19/12/2008 09:29

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I have a feeling that to use a surname for a child that is different to the one on her birth certificate, even informally, is against the law. Unless your ex agrees to the name change and it is done formally and legally, I think your DD will have to be known by the her current surname until she is old enough to change it herself.

I could be wrong - hopefully someone will come along and contadict me.

Congratulations on the wedding, by the way!

MadreInglese · 19/12/2008 09:31

I think you can be 'known as' whatever name you like, as long as the name on your birth cert is used for official documents

Hope you have a fab day tomorrow!

sleepingwiththeenemy · 19/12/2008 09:53

Yes, she can be known by a different name. My dd started school in September, and I did not want her having any association with her Father, including his name (anyone who knows my situation from other threads will understand this). On the school forms it asks for legal surname and preferred surname. The legal bit is HIS name, but in school, on books, on name pegs, in assembly etc she is known by my name. The only time his name is used is if any official letters come from the school. Similarly, doctor's/dentists's/benefits froms etc all have to bear her legal surname, but in day to day life she is known by my maiden name, as am I.
Hope that helps.

yerblurt · 19/12/2008 18:59

If father has Parental Responsibility it is ILLEGAL to have the child KNOWN by another surname or try to use any other name than on the birth certificate.

The courts take a very dim view of trying to change or cause a child to be known by another surname and that includes attempting to use a "preferred" surname.

iliketosleep · 19/12/2008 19:50

then it seems alot of people are breaking the law!

OP posts:
ELOB · 01/01/2009 21:35

many years ago when i was in school (im 40) my best friend and her 2 brothers all had their surnames changed to the same as their step dads. this was because their father was dead and their mum had remarried and had a baby daughter with the new husband who all the children knew as dad because they were young when their own dad died. whether it was legal or not i don't know and it was in scotland so may be different but certainly all their friends myself included knew them by their new surname.

yerblurt · 03/01/2009 17:36

yes, it does seem a lot of people are breaking the law, including the school - and they should know better!

as the father had died, he obviously would not be in a position to object to his PR being ridden rough-shod over, in that situation it probably would be viewed as OK, however, I wonder whether a double-barrelled name would be preferable to at least preserve the link between the children and their biolgoical father.

stareye · 03/01/2009 18:27

I think you have to have the permission of the other parent to change a child's surname.

Good luck for tomorrow!

zoe99 · 03/01/2009 18:43

I changed my ds surname with deed poll without the fathers permission even though he is on the birth certificate.If a parent is absent and whereabouts unknown as in my case you can change it with a supporting letter. My ds originally had my surname then ex p so double barrelled, however he was only ever known by my surname. I cannot change the paasport but passport office have informed me that when ds is old enough he can do it himself, I did ask them if I was committing an illegal offence as this is the only documentation now with original name even though ds name has been changed, they had no answer.

roedeer · 04/02/2009 21:09

i legally changed my DCs' names to mine last year. My solicitor (who had previously dealt with the various legal issues surrounding XP threatening to kill me just after he walked out, etc..) told me that i could change my DD(born in '03)'s name by myself without XP's permission even though his name is on her birth certificate. this is because he has no parental responsibilty for DD as we were not married when the birth was registered (thank god.)

BUT DS was born the year after (04) and in the interim there was a change in the law which means that the father's name on the birth certificate awards him automatic parental responsibility even if he is not married to the mother, and, in that case, you can't change the child's name with the dad's permission, as you thought, and even with that permission the courts are likely to do all that they can in order to preserve the link between the father and child. i told my solicitor that there is no link between the father and child... XP walked out on DS when he was 5 weeks old and tried to make out that it was DS's fault FGS... he has NO contact, pays NO maintenence for either DC, and the solicitor said that in this case maybe if i were to be able to get written consent from the XP, then we should probably be able to change DS's name. also, if we could show that XP had been sent the documentation and had not responded then we might possibly get the court's permission, but it would be a much longer drawn out process.

i wouldn't change DD's name and not DS's, and i thought that XP- if i could even find him- would NEVER give his consent to a name change (he likes to paint himself as a would-be doting father, despite never even bothering to send them a card at christmas... deeeeeply delusional). i was also scared of contacting him, am still suffering from PTSD after the relationship, etc.. but... their having his name upset me and some of my family a lot, my NM was encouraging and supportive, and with DD about to start school i had to at least try.

with a bit of amateur detective work i managed to track down an address for XP and the solicitor sent the consent forms there. i also left a message on XP's old mobile phone number to contact me urgently... luckily he still had the same one. a few days later XP returned the call, angry and confused as to why solicitors letters were going to him when he hadn't even been contacting me, let alone harassing me... XP hadn't even opened them, but knew they were from me from the city postmark (he moved to london). i told XP as calmly as i could what i was trying to do (i was terrified) and why, and for some reason he saw for once that he could do the right thing for them and that it was pointless refusing just to spite me and said then and there that he would sign the forms. woah- did not see that coming! turns out he had his own reasons... but thats another story.

it took the solicitor sending three sets of forms and me sending polite reminder texts at restrained intervals for XP to actually return the them signed, but once he had, my solicitor called me into her office for an appointment to sign the deeds and it was done! i literally punched the air on the way out of the office.

i have absolutely no regrets, and the whole thing has totally helped me drew some lines under a few very difficult years in my life. my DCs are to young to understand, but know that they have new surnames that are the same as mine, and they are happy about this. i don't know if this is going to help you, iliketosleep, mainly because i don't know if you were married to your DD's dad and therefore if he has parental responsibility for her, but it might be worth contacting a solicitor about it, especially in light of the fact that your DD now has no contact.

and congratulations on your recent marriage!

hayley2u · 05/02/2009 12:56

my ex p is on birth cert but both my children carry my surname so would i stil have to get permision from him, even though he dont see the children as was violent xx

roedeer · 06/02/2009 00:44

i would still suggest going and talking to a family solicitor about it, his being violent and not seeing the kids can work for you here (if nowhere else). if you can show that the surname is causing you and/ or DCs distress that can work for you too. i'm just remembering things that were said to me by my solicitor. she wasn't very positive at first, but the more background i gave her she seemed more willing to give it a go.

the other thing that was suggested to me by my solicitor was that if my NM (i say new... he's been around since my DS was 1) and i were to get married and NM wanted to adopt my children the courts- even without permission from XP- would in all likelihood grant the adoption order in light of the fact that we would be a family, and the XP has contributed exactly nothing to the emotional or financial upbringing of his children. this would obviously mean their taking his name.

TheNinkynork · 06/02/2009 21:42

OMG I have just stumbled across this thread to find out that I am breaking the law!

DD aged almost 9 hasn't seen her father for seven years - his choice, and has been using my DH's surname at school. Would the courts take a dim view of this full stop even though ExH hasn't bothered to contact her or to even try? I'm quite scared now!

Can I be penalised for doing the best for her, which was to give her the same surname as her mother, father and baby brother? If so then that's quite wrong, no?

twigsblankets · 28/09/2009 16:10

So sorry to resurrect this thread, but please be careful when letting yr DC take on another surname without legal paperwork.

My sister and myself both 'took on' my step father's surname, although it was never ever legal, and when our NI cards came through, they came through with our assumed surname (step father's surname, which I'll call B to help me come across clearly).

This has caused me untold problems over the years, since all my NI, tax and benefits are now under the name on my NI card, ie: step father's name, yet my birth certificate is still in my mother's maiden name, which I'll call A to clarify.

Just as an example, I cannot study OU, since I cannot prove that the person on my birth certificate (Miss A)is the same person on my NI card or the same person who is in receipt of benefits,(Miss B) for financial support.

I also opened a bank account to have my benefit paid into, and was helped to buy a car. I used this bank account, in the name of Miss B, to pay for the car, so my car is now legally owned and registered to Miss B, yet my driving licence is in the name of Miss A. This causes me untold angst when insuring my car.

I have never legally been Miss B, yet because NI were informed by my school that I was indeed Miss B, that is why they sent my NI card in name of Miss B.

Anything that involves sending off my birth certificate requires me to name myself as Miss A, and anything that involves work or benefits requires me to call myself Miss B.

And it's such a pita when the two are required at the same time. I have been quizzed incessantly over the phone and to my face as to why I have 2 different surnames, yet have never been married or divorced. Commonly asked whether Miss A is my maiden name, and trying to explain to people is frustrating.

My sister married and so has changed everything to her married name, without too much explanation, but I am tired of explaining that my mother decided to call me after my step father. I have also been told by benefits agency that they can revert me back to Miss A, but this would involve going back at least 24 years in my records, (which they are not sure are actually available any longer after so much time) to verify that Miss A did indeed disappear without passing away, only to be replaced by a Miss B who was never born. I then need to prove (although they can't tell me exactly how I can do this) that the 2 people are one and the same.

It has been a living nightmare tbh, and this is why I made a concious decision to never ever change my DC surname, no matter what, unless it was accompanied by legal documentation as proof that they were indeed formally known as .

I have also phoned NI, who aren't in the slightest bit interested in my dilemma and will only say that NI numbers are generated upon the child's birth being registered, and so they cannot explain why I now have a NI card and tax records in a different name.

I find I open a mammoth can of worms every time I try to explain.

HTH prevent even just one more person from living their life under almost constant scrutiny over their name or assumed name.

Please Please always let schools and drs, dentists, govt people know yr child's legal name.

That's all.

yerblurt · 28/09/2009 19:29

Well there you go.

There are reasons why it is illegal for a child to be known by anything other than his/her LEGAL surname without the permission of all of those with PR.

That includes "causing the child to be known by" another surname - whether by an "informal" surname or otherwise.

mmrred · 28/09/2009 20:26

Seems fairly clear - some schools will allow you to have the child 'known by' another name but it puts them in a very tricky legal position. Also exam entries have to be in legal surnames, which causes problems at exam time. One very bright girl at my DD's school got a 'G' for one of her English GCSE's because of a mix-up over her legal and known-by name.

overmydeadbody · 28/09/2009 20:31

twigs you could make life easier for yourself now and change your name by deed poll to Miss B so that you can prove that you are the same person as Miss A on your birth certificate?

It's pretty easy to change your mane by deed poll.

randomeuro · 28/09/2009 20:35

Second everything twigsblankets has said. Have had exactly the same situation myself, it is a huge pita and never never goes away. I have to explain the situation all the time. Getting a residence/work visa overseas has been a nightmare. Everythig is a pita, NI, Passport, bank accounts, wedding certificate, visa...everything.

Really can't stress enough what a pain it is without proper paperwork, I would never put this burden on my child.

Meglet · 28/09/2009 21:24

What about double-barrelled surnames? I can't see ex P ever agreeing to the dc's having just my surname, but I would happily give them both our surnames?

Anyone know how I can change them?

twigsblankets · 28/09/2009 22:29

randomeuro Do you do what I sometimes do, and deny you have a driving licence/passport etc where possible, so as to avoid the relentless questions?

When I needed to claim Housing Benefit, (which incidentally is in my assumed name because I am identified through my NI number for HB purposes, I was asked to provide my driving licence/passport as photographic evidence of who I am. I simply felt I had no other option at the time but to say I didn't drive (which is a blatant lie) so had no driving licence, and I can't afford to go on holiday abroad, and therefore have never had a passport.

I second everything you have said randomeuro. I think my mother regrets her decision now, but for so many parents, it is not something they foresee a problem with until it is effectively too late, and then the problem is the child's, not the parents IYSWIM.

I am another who would leave my child's name well alone unless I had legal documentation to support the name change. Even then, imho, I wouldn't change my child's surname, unless I felt I had to.
For me, knowing how it has blighted my adult life, it just isn't worth the grief.

twigsblankets · 28/09/2009 22:32

Meglet Sorry, I am abit confused by your post.
What do you want to change your DC's surname from and to?
From XP's surname to double barrelled of yours and XP's?

Meglet · 28/09/2009 22:36

twigs yes, double barrelled of mine and ex P's. At the moment the dc's just have his surname. I would be happier if my surname was also on their documents for school & travel in the future.

yerblurt · 29/09/2009 18:13

I don't see a problem with double-barrelling the child's surname to his and yours. This is an acceptable solution for many separated parents. It preserves the biological link with both parents which is very important

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