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Question
Posted by: Anonymous for prevent problems | 2009-07-22

kids change surnames

I have been divorced for a few years and remarried. My kids are under 10 still. If they wanted to change their surname to that of their stepfather, would they be allowed to do so and at what age? Will my ex be able to stop them from doing so? They barely have a relationship wit their bio dad, but he would fight tooth and nail just because he can. I do not discuss this with them, but I know the oldest one is really thinking about it.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDivorce support expert

Hello and thank you for writing your concern.

I am curious though as to how a child under 10 years old gets on the subject of name changing?
However, this is a very personal issue which needs to be addressed very thoughtfully. Is this about changing name for practical reason or to make a statement that the biological father is not there father anymore? I tend to believe, that no matter how little a relationship a child may have with the less present parent, in this case his father, he shouldn't be made to call the "step"parent Dad or look at him him as his father. The reality is, he has father. This is something very precious. Your sons are fortunate to have another male figure in their life who obviously cares for them. I wouldn't confused the two. If you support this change in name, think very carefully at your motives and the implications, but this maybe seen as denying them the right to recognise their biological father and therefore half of who your children are. I do not know the exact nature of your situation and the relationship of all the party concerned, but if you were asked to give this advice to a friend, what would you say? Connect with what feels right and follow your instinct bearing in mind the children's interests are top of the list.

I hope this helps.
Love and Gratitude

Nadia
SADSA | The South African Divorce Support Association
info@sadsa.net

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

7
Our users say:
Posted by: KG | 2009-08-26

MY SON ALSO WANTS TO CHANGE HIS NAME. HE IS 7 AND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HE MUST HAVE A DIFFERENT NAME TO THE REST OF US (MY NEW HUBBY AND OUR CHILDREN) HE WANTS OUR NAME BECAUSE HE FEELS IT WILL MAKE HIM MORE FAMILY. I DON' T THINK HE EVEN CONSIDERS HIS DAD' S FEELINGS IN THIS, HE IS JUST TRYING TO MAKE HIS IMMEDIATE SPACE MORE THE WAY HE WANTS IT.

LEGALLY THOUGH, MY EX WOULD HAVE TO GIVE WRITTEN CONSENT ON THE HOME AFFAIRS PAPERWORK.

Reply to KG
Posted by: Jax | 2009-08-06

Go to home affairs - have a copy of your marriage certificate - copies of the kids birth cert, permission from your current husband in writing consenting to them taking his name and fill in the form for change of surname to your married name.....voila.

Reply to Jax
Posted by: G-Dad | 2009-07-23

There is no way you can change a minor child' s name without both biological parent' s consent, at least until they reach the age of 18 any way, the only other way is when when 1 of the biological parents died then for obvious reason you do not need that parent' s consent.

But why do you want to change who you are, it does not make sense, if the step father play such a role and the biological father no role at all then the step father should try and adopt the child and in that process it is possible to change the surname.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: anon again | 2009-07-23

Brilliant, thank you for the advice. Yup, kids get some strange ideas in your head. I don' t think I would allow my kids to do something like that though, because it' s not only about their dad, but the rest of his family too. I think my son needs to understand the ramifications (legally and personally) before he should entertain these ideas. At least now I can speak to him as an informed parent.

Kind regards

Reply to anon again
Posted by: SADSA | 2009-07-23

Ok, that' s interesting. Their young minds do get busy!

I am not in a position to give any legal advice, but it would seem at first that it depends on the divorce agreement you have with their father. Whether the father has some say or not.

He would still need your permission though.
I would however invite your son to see that his friend' s situation is different than his. The Daddy passed away whether his is present in his life. I would further ad that when he is 18, if he stills feels strongly about this than he can make choice to change for himself.

For further legal advice I would suggest you connect with a lawyer. I will gladly refer one to you.

Warmest regards

Nadia | SADSA

Reply to SADSA
Posted by: Anonymous again! | 2009-07-23

Than you for the advice, I feel much the same you do. Unfortuantely the legal question was not answered, could you please answer the legal question - is a minor under 10 allowed to change their surname without the biological father' s consent or not?

Kind regards

Reply to Anonymous again!
Posted by: Anonymous again | 2009-07-23

The oldest one has a friend who was adopted by his (the friend' s stepfather (the bio dad passed away) and changed his surname.

Reply to Anonymous again

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