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11 year old daughter would like to change her surname to be that of my soon to be husband and her step siblings and father refuses to allow

Hi,

My 11 year old daughter would like to change her surname to be that of my soon to be husband and her younger brothers and sisters. I have moved the correct forms through to her father whom she has not seen in 10 years (at his personal choice) and he has refused to sign them.

Is there an alternative way she can change her name without him signing them?
The alternative will be to wait for the child to turn 18!
You are asking the father to give up his rights?

Why is it so important??


    

My eldest daughter would like ice cream for dinner each night, but that doesn't mean I should acquiesce to her requests. Your daughters surname is an important part of her identity and who she is, and changing it is too big a decision for her to be making as an 11 year old. When she is old enough to make the decision for herself and if she still want's to change her surname at least she can do so without youthful abandonment. 
You're daughter could be "known as Smith" at school etc. It is not an official name change and is quite common when I was with my ex her daughter from her fist relationship wanted to use my last name as the other children were at the same school with my last name. While I was flattered I felt a bit uncomfortable for her father. Long story short the ex went to the school and changed it with them Known as.
roosters_64 is correct.  You can take on any name provided it is not illegal (e.g. to escape a criminal offence, steal someones identity etc), is not offensive to a minority group (e.g. racist, offensive to a religious sect etc) or obscene (e.g. an expletive etc) without the need to amend a birth certificate.  With this method you still need to include the name that appears on the birth certificate on all legal documentation which includes school enrolment forms, Medicare, bank records etc  This form of identity "change" is more so seen as a method of using a preferred first name e.g. My grandmother who was known by most people as "AA" didn't like her first name that was on her birth certificate so always used her second name.  I think this kind of thing should be an adult personal choice not one that is made by an adult for a child.

My brother separated from his partner when their son was only a couple of years old.  His son had his surname on the birth certificate.  This was many years ago now but I still remember my brother walking in one day very upset that his ex wanted to change the child's name to her own maiden name (she'd also asked him to sign the name change) and when he said no she had turned around to him and said I'll just do it anyway.  My brother saw this as her trying to eliminate his identity completely from his sons life, he already could only see his son whenever she felt like it.  A couple of years later when she remarried he found from the school that she was using her new husbands name on the records as his sons surname.  My brother is a very closed book mostly but I knew this devastated him.

Schultz said
Your daughters surname is an important part of her identity and who she is, and changing it is too big a decision for her to be making as an 11 year old. When she is old enough to make the decision for herself and if she still wants to change her surname at least she can do so without youthful abandonment.
Could not agree more with what Schultz has said!!!!

Although I am a big believer in hyphenated mother & father surnames for children (especially from separated families) If the child's surname appears on the certificate as the fathers only, through previous jointly made decisions and your dispute does not involve you wanting to add your own maiden name to your ex's surname then to want to change the surname of your child to your new partners is an attempt to eliminate the child's REAL father from the child's identity!!

As monaro said too…

You are asking the father to give up his rights?

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
CrazyWorld said
 A couple of years later when she remarried he found from the school that she was using her new husbands name on the records as his sons surname. 

Sorry couldn't amend my post so I'm clarifying as a guest.  By "records" I mean…his sons birth certificate name was on the enrolment form but in the section "is your child known by another name" which is the part where you can have your child referred to as something other than their  birth certificate name was her new husbands surname. So the child was being addressed as such.

Cheers
Guest said
My 11 year old daughter would like to change her surname to be that of my soon to be husband
Look I dont know your full circumstance and generally id rather not say anthing if I cant say anything nice….. but honestly you must be kidding "my soon to be husband" what a joke, you want her to change it, if she does its because you are trying to influence her? or because she is trying to please you? does that sound more like it? cause thats what it sounds to me, the best thing you can do is reassure her that her current name is great, you like the sound of it and dont even tell her about "you can change it at 18 stuff" let her work that out herself.

I have the surname of my father, but my mum seperated when I was very young and I grew up with her and saw him occassionaly, he wasnt a very good father, she was a great mother, however…  I am very proud of my surname, its heritage, as I am of my mothers madien name which she went back to when I was a teenager, maybe you can think about that, her current surname along with your maiden name has heritage relevant to her, your soon to be husbands doesnt! leave her alone.
My kids haven't seen their mother for many years. Their real last name is a hyphenation of my last name and their mothers last name.

They prefer their last name to be my last name alone.

The school is quite happy for them to do this.

If they ever want to legally change their names then they can do this when there 18.

For now they are happy with the current arrangements.
Ummmmmmmm

I think it might be an idea to check further into using A.K.A.'s in schools. I am of the understanding that in my state this can not be done without a specific criteria expressed such as protection orders and such, a child must be referred to as their legal name.

I would suggest you excise all legal avenues, you may be surprised, if this does not work out then follow through with an application to the court if your daughter still feels so strongly about this.

There are three main parties involved that all need to be considered child, mum and dad.

Remember folks it's not always about wrongs and rights or alienation, sometimes there are parents who chose not to be part of the child's life and this can make a big difference to a child.

D4E said
I think it might be an idea to check further into using A.K.A.'s in schools. I am of the understanding that in my state this can not be done without a specific criteria expressed such as protection orders and such, a child must be referred to as their legal name.
 
Before the Family Law amendments, if there were no Orders in place and you were never married to the biological father then mothers could get away with more things.  If uncontested…still can I believe.

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org

Someone who cares

         Not to discount anyone here but a simple question has been asked which frankly hasn't really been addressed, except with condemnation on the party asking. I have been doing my research into this and have recently had my child in tears over the very same issue. My child has had no contact with her mother for over 8 years! This was by her choice! and I have no doubt that there are both Mum's & Dad's which are like this.

       My child wants to be known by my surname, not someone she doesn't know. In response to the outlandish opinion that the child will lose their identity, my child is already without an identity and it shows whenever someone uses the current surname.

      Keep looking for thje answer as will I……
Guest said
My child has had no contact with her mother for over 8 years!
 

I am assuming that you are the biological father Guest which ordinarily speaking would pose no cause for concern over the surname of the child remaining as such due to the mothers absence.

The question here that has been raised is…how can a parent of an 11 year old child go about changing the surname of their child that is currently registered in the name of their biological father, to the surname of a biologically unrelated partner (soon to be husband) of the mother.  The likelihood of this same question being asked by a biological father i.e. to change the surname to that of their new "female"  partner would be less likely, mostly due to popular culture which follows old tradition.

The issues with "lost identity" in this kind of situation, i.e. where the surname would be changed from the biological father or mothers surname to a non biologically related person, is that this creates a scenario which completely displaces the child from their own heritage (on either side).  Yes, the original poster has said that the child has siblings and indirectly indicated that her soon to be husband is most likely the biological father of those siblings given they all share his own surname as the reason.   However, just like those siblings that have been privilaged to the entitlement of retaining their own heritage links through having their own fathers surname, shouldn't the 11 year old (who is still very young to have these decisions made for her) be afforded this same entitlement to her own heritage?  I'm sure if the original question was…How do I go about changing the surname of my 11 year old child who has not seen their father for 10 years to my own maiden name, responses to this question would have been different.  At least mine would have been. 

What happens too for this child if after her surname has been changed to the non biological partners surname, the mother and new partner separate?  Does the mother then go about changing the child's surname for a third time?  What connection does this child then have to her heritage?

Opinions of children can be easily swayed by parents.  At 11 years old the daughter has used this surname all her life so far and whether the father has been on the scene or not, at 11 years old it has very much become part of her identity already.  When the child turns 12 years old, she is legally allowed to be part of the decision making process to change her name.  In fact, although the biological parents must lodge the change of name with BDM, at this age (12 years) the child must give consent for the name change to occur.  She will be questioned separately from the parents to ensure she is developmentally old enough to know what a name change would mean and if this is really a decision she wants herself, or one which has been pressured by the parent/s.   


Guest said
I have no doubt that there are both Mum's & Dad's which are like this.
I have no doubt this is right on the money Guest!!!


Cheers

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Hi, I can just offer my own personal experience. My daughter has my last name on her birth certificate, but met a man when she was 2. I enrolled her in school under that mans name, I did not fill out any forms, just on the school enrolment AKA my last name. It was even ok with the Student Assistance Scheme under that name as well (the partners). She is now almost 16 and I have separated from that man but she chooses to keep it to be connected to her brother and sister. I never made an issue of it and when I separated from the man who raised her she never mentioned a name change. However if she did, Id have left it up to her. She also has close family members under that surname and she decided to keep it to be connected to them also. I did run into trouble when she got a job and opened bank accounts/centrelink and the like. They had to go under the birth certificate name, but no one else has to know about those things. I know its not much but thats how I handled it.

I have locked this topic - There seems to be some confusion and or coflicting information.

I am unsure whether it is the same person posting as Guest - The initial post refers to a prospective new husband. Later the absent parent is the mother.

In the end, if a child at 11 expresses a strong opinion, and you are comfortable it is their own choice without undue influence - then a court would consider an application to change the name. But beware - if the court thought games were being played, then there are likely to be orders made which are unpalatable.



Re children, I have experienced children of all ages who were  comfortable haveing a different surname to the rest of the family. In other cases it was an issue for the child. These are the cases where it realy was the childs wish. I also know of case where extensive pressure was applied to the child which can be very damaging to the child's sense of self.

To parent's who face this situation, your decision needs to based on what is really best for the child, not on parental rights. Any attempt to do go in the opposite direction will be damaging.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
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