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Child's Unofficial Change Of Name


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The parents of one of our children split up a few months ago in acrimonious circumstances. They weren't married but the 4 year old has his father's surname. Now, because the father won't acknowledge the older child as his [and he isn't] the mother wants the younger child to be known by her surname in future. This child is on Early Years Action so there are quite a lot of reports etc with his name on. He starts school in September so we are looking at transition issues, too.

 

I don't think I've actually dealt with a situation like this before so I'm not sure of all the necessary steps. We have asked the mother to put her request in writing [difficult because her literacy level isn't great] and asked her to consider that father may react strongly when he reads any reports if she doesn't tell him. She implied that she had hinted at her intentions in a text message!

 

I know you can be called more-or-less anything you want. I just don't want to go changing documents etc hastily if there are things I have overlooked. I'd be grateful for any thoughts if I've made any sort of sense!

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I'm not sure but I would have thought that on 'official' documents you would have to use the name on the child's birth certificate. She could see if the father would consent to changing it by deed poll. I'm not sure about the process for that though.

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sounds awful but I had a friend like this and she had to get this done properly and it even meant the father had to adopt his own child as they got married but the child had mothers name and so they changed it and then they all had same name even though the child was the fathers own child!

 

Not sure what happended now as think they have divorced? What a shame this has to happen...

 

Think she will need to seek advice from CAB or even her solicitors.

 

As the setting you probably need to sek advice too, to ensure you are covered legally with transitions and forms regarding funding and birth certificate.

 

Good luck :o

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As far as i am aware you can be "known as" any name but on legal forms you would have to also have the legal name.

We have a child who for example is legally called john Smith but when his mum got married she wanted her child to be known as John Brown.

When the register is done he is called by John Brown and this would be the name on his books , but legally and on legal forms he is still called John Smith.

Also to change names by deed poll you have to have the fathers permission ,as my daughter wanted to change her daughters name to the same as hers when she married but her ex- partner would never agree to this and the solicitor said if you do it without his knowledge a judge could make you change it back.

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I think you would need to use the name on the birth certificate for any official paperwork......until it's been changed legally. This is only thoughts so I would try to seek more professional advice!

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I think this would depend on when and where the child was born and whether or not the parents are married. The law changed recently concerning rights for unmarried father I believe but I found this link which may be helpful.

 

here

 

I think she can only change the child name if she has sole parental responsibility nowadays, in the past the father had very few rights especially if not named on the birth certificate.

 

In the meantime, I think you need to continue to use his known name until given evidence to the contrary.

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This has recently been a very hot topic in my group, albeit for very different reasons.

 

Basically the parent (if she has sole parental responsibility) can call her child whatever she likes - but she can't declare someone the father on the birth certificate unless she is married to this man or the man wants to be known as the father and goes to register the birth. So he could be registered John Smith (her surname) but known as John Brown (his name). I'm not sure the father would have any legal rights to stop this happening (but obviously he'd need to get legal advice on this matter for himself). As Mundia says, unmarried fathers have rights now that they didn't have some time ago, so you do have to tread carefully.

 

If the father has parental responsibility he may be quite happy for the mother to rever to using her surname instead of his when referring to her child, in which case there isn't a problem. However, a child has a legal identity and without a deed poll certificate showing the change of name, I'd think legally you'd need to show that this child is known by both names. So perhaps your paperwork could show "John Brown [known as John Smith]" for example, so that officialdom is aware that you are talking about the same child and not too different children (especially if the parent is claiming child tax credit or whatever).

 

Do your families sign a Parent Declaration Form for their nursery education funding that asks for the child's legal name and the name the child is known by? Ours do, and so this often highlights where there might be parental responsibility issues.

 

My advice is to check with Lawcall if you're a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance just to make sure you're complying with your legal requirements. The mother may be justified in taking this course of action, but you don't want to get your group (and your registered person!) dragged into a situation where you might unwittingly be jeopardising your ability to 'keep it legal'.

 

Hope all that makes sense!

 

Maz

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One of our nursery children who transferred to school this term has just had his 3rd name change! Mum said it was by deed poll so I amended our records accordingly. Like yours the child was on Early Years Action Plus when the records transferred to school I made sure all the name changes were very clear. I recommend you keep a paper trail so that any receiving settings can follow the changes when the child moves on. I did check with our Early Years Development Officer for definitive advice but they weren't very helpful, but did say don't ask to see birth certificate or further evidence of name changes unless you want to check every single child's paperwork!

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Same as Mary

 

A copy of the child's birth certificate is required for admitance to nursery.Parents are told that is the name used on all official paperwork and is used UNLESS we have a legal document saying otherwise.The child can be 'know as' anything the parent requests.Using a 'known as' name we have a child awaiting adoption, a child who with mum is 'hiding' from father while criminal charges are on going re abuse, 2 children called Mohammed using other names and few others.We also have a few children using hybrids of their birth name.

 

Check about access to the child by 'father' should he turn up at your setting and make sure you know where you stand if he tries to remove the child during a session as we once had a snatch situation.

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That's interesting, Marion.

 

I'm pretty sure that what we're talking about here is not a potential change by deed poll. The older child's records had his birth certificate name followed by 'known as' and that was never a problem. I think this is what we will have to do with the younger child. We have started the paper trail and asked mum to put her request to us in writing.

 

Thank you for all your advice. I will take it on board and see what transpires. Fortunately the intake school already know the family so that might simplify things.

 

The parents aren't married and there's absolutely nothing to say that father may not collect the child. He does collect him periodically, when he & mum are on speaking terms at least! It's a bit of an ongoing situation between them but this time it looks like a deeper rift.

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