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Changing surnames


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#1 Ianthe

Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:40 PM

Does anyone know how complicated it is to change a child's surname? Do you need the other parent's permission?

My kids have been asking if my husband and I divorce would I start using my maiden name. I said I didn't know but possibly. I have all brothers so all of 'my' family have the same surname. One has now asked if we could hyphenate our two surnames. I cannot imagine my ex will like that idea at all but anyone know how complicated it is?

And is having a double barrelled surname a pita?

#2 julia*v

Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

I am pretty sure if the children are under 18 you need both parents to sign the 'change of name' form.

You change your name legally through Births, Deaths and Marriages - so look up the one for your state to see each of the rules.

It is a very easy process. I think it costs about $150 (in WA) to complete.

#3 ~Mintie~

Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:51 PM

As PP's said you would need his permission as well as ID from him. If you can't get that you need a court order that specifies you can change the names. The cost is $166. It's not a complicated process as long as you can meet the ID requirements, but takes about 6 weeks to complete.

#4 Feral Madam Mim

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:40 AM

I THINK you don't need permission if you have been out of contact with the father for 2years? Don't quote me on this as I could be very wrong, but I think I heard it somewhere.

#5 JustBeige

Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:29 AM

QUOTE (mad madam mim @ 16/11/2012, 02:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I THINK you don't need permission if you have been out of contact with the father for 2years? Don't quote me on this as I could be very wrong, but I think I heard it somewhere.

Yep. I 'think' also you have to be unable to contact him. I remember a conversation with a mum going through this a couple of years ago.  She had the added stress of trying to get them passports too.


BD&M will be able to tell you.

#6 idignantlyright

Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:37 AM

We started using DH's surname at school for eldest DD, and at the doctors. So her file had written on it her new name, but her birthname was also there. It helped when she wanted to change it properly later.

#7 wombat

Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:52 AM

My DD has a double barrel surname and does not find it a problem.  As for whether you need your ex to agree I'm not sure, but I do know that years ago my cousin changed her kids names to hers and her ex objected, but it was allowed as both the kids were adamant they wanted to same name as thier mum.  Not sure of the process to make that happen however.

#8 FeralRebelWClaws

Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

When my parents split up, I hypenated my name. My Mum went back her maiden name because she was her Dad's only child, and he was an only child etc.

However, my Dad refused to sign the form. So until I was 18 I was legally unhyphenated. However, back then (in the 90s) we just told the school I wanted to be known with the hypenated name and then used my school report to change my bank account. Though my learners license was in the unhypenated name because that is what my birth certificate and medicare card said. My HSC and university enrolment was in the hypenated name, and I changed it legally when I turned 18 in the January before starting Uni.

TBH having a hypenated name does make it a lot more complicated for me, but I also have an unusual and difficult to spell first name.

I'm glad I did it for my mother though. However I will be changing my surname to my fiances surname when we are married in April.

#9 Giota

Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:46 AM

I have just done this. You can either get your ex to sign the papers or go to court.

The courts look at what is in the best interest of the child. If the child resides 100% with you, it would be more beneficial for the child to have the same name as the custodial parent. If it is shared care, and the children are already at school, the courts will be more reluctant to make the change.

PM if you want more details as I have just changed my daughters name.

#10 Curly Wurly

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

My mother changed my name (not legally) to my stepfathers.  I resented it. To me it was robbing me of my identity without my consent. When I turned 18yrs old the first thing I did was change everything back to my real name.

#11 FiveAus

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:28 PM

Keep in mind the kids can use whatever name they like. It then becomes their "preferred name", and the one they were born with stays their legal name.

My youngest daughter used her stepfathers last name from when she started high school. She barely knew her father, we had separated and divorced when she was very small, and he had moved overseas, so she felt no obligation to continue to use his name, and she didn't particularly like it anyway.

For various reasons she decided she wanted to use her stepfathers name, and she just started using it. It's not legal, her real name still appears on her drivers license and her passport, but right through high school she was known by her stepfathers name, she joined various clubs with that name and all of her friends knew her as that name.

#12 Phascogale

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE (Curly Wurly @ 16/11/2012, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My mother changed my name (not legally) to my stepfathers.  I resented it. To me it was robbing me of my identity without my consent. When I turned 18yrs old the first thing I did was change everything back to my real name.

This is exactly how I felt/feel. When you are 9 and have a hard to spell eastern European name you jump at the chance to have a short Aussie name.  And initially i thought it was great. But as I got older I resented it more and more.  I didnt change my name back though I really wanted to because then my mum would see it as a slight to her and it wasn't worth the drama. I knew I would change my name when I got married but I really felt for my dad as my brothers name was changed too.

I wouldn't change the name officially and just use a preferred name and your child can change it when they are 18. But it does depend on the  circumstances of why you broke up. Even if there is no contact now the child may want it later.

#13 Luckyseven

Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

When I separated from my X, our DD wanted to change her name to my maiden name that I had reverted back to, her and her dad did not get along and she hated having his surname (she was 11) I looked into changing her name and yes you can do it if you have the fathers permission and it does cost a bit but my X was very hurt by her wanting to change her name so I respected that and so did she in end so she has kept her dads name as have her little brothers.




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