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Changing the child’s surname The divorce between spouses brings problems which are mostly grave in nature. One of the problem, that can be very disturbing for a parent (especially fathers) is changing the surname of their biological children. The objective behind changing name is to safeguard the possession and belonging of the child and to disallow the other parent seeing the child. If you’re considering, changing children’s surname, it is always advisable to seek the legal opinion.

  • Naming the newborn child:

A newborn should be named within 42 days, after the birth. Both the biological parents must agree to a name they have selected for their child. After the birth of the child, mutually selected name should be recorded and registered on the birth certificate within 42 days.

  • In case of unmarried couple:

In case the couple is unmarried, mother may choose to give the newborn her name as a surname. According to law, fathers are not bound to give their names to the child. The consent of the father should be taken into consideration before giving his surname to the child. The mother of the child cannot give her child the surname of the child’s father, without the father’s consent.

  • In case of divorce:

After the divorce, it is the right of the mother to revert to her own maiden name if she wishes to. In some cases, mother also wishes to change the surname of their children after the divorce. However, it is only possible, if the father of the children allows and gives her consent to change the surname. Changing the surname without the permission of the father may result in facing court and legal implications.

  • In case of mother married to a new partner:

In case the mother has married to a new partner and have kids with him, she may wish to have the same surname for all the children. Again, the permission of the children’s birth father is required and it is the legal right of the father not to give consent to change the surname.

Also read: How to manage relationship with your ex

  • In case of father refusal:

It is common that the fathers don’t want to lose their children and the surname of their children defines a relationship between a child and a father. If the father of the child is not willing to give consent to change the surname e of his child, mother should abide by the law and leave the idea of changing name.

However, if the mother changes the surname of the children without the permission and consent of her ex-spouse, he (ex-spouse) may take her to court. The court will then decide whether changing the surname of the children is necessary or whether changing the surname has any impact in the children’s upbringing or not.

  • In case of remarriage:

In case, either parent of the children remarries and wants to alter their children’s surname, permission must be taken by the other parent. It is to be noted that in most of the cases, court will not allow this if one of the parent disagrees over the reason mentioned by the other parent for altering the surname of the children.

In case of the unmarried couple, there is high likelihood that the court will approve this, especially if children’s father has not permitted using his name on the birth certificate.

If you’re a parent who wants to change the surname of the children, you should consult it with the other parent and provide valid reasons why you want to do it and what good it brings to the children’s life.

On the other side, if you’re a parent that has issue regarding the name change and  you’re not allowing your ex-spouse to change to your children’s surname, you should seek the legal advice.

To read more, please visit http://www.leics.gov.uk/changing_a_childs_surname_leaflet.pdf

  • Don’t hurt the children:

It is also good to take the opinion and views of the children into consideration, before making a final decision. Children may have attachment with one particular name and changing it may have negative impacts on their lives. Also, children already feel very uneasy and disturbed after the divorce or separation of their parents. Following the event, most of the children leave their homes or schools, as they have to shift to a new place, depending upon the arrangements. Therefore, it is always in the best interest of the both parents not to further hurt the children’s feelings and do take their opinion seriously.

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