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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33028
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I would like to add my maiden name to my children's surname

Customer Question

I would like to add my maiden name to my children's surname but their father is refusing saying it is going to confuse them. Currently it is Connor, I would like to change it to Hanna-Connor. Mainly so we don't have to field questions when registering them at Dr's and dentists etc.
I never married my children's father and we separated when they were 3. They are 6 now (twins) and live with me and my new husband full time but i allow their father access every week by letting him collect them from school 2days a week and every other weekend visitation and overnight stay on Saturday's. We never went to court and have a private arrangement over maintenance, he pays £275pcm for both children... Not enough to cover their cost but a contribution all the same
I know I need his permission to change by deed poll, so what are my options if he continues to refuse? Can I register them unofficially at schools etc with my name included? Do I have to go to court? What are my chances of winning if I do
I never wanted my children to be affected by our separation but as I have to explain why their name is ***** ***** mine when we go to new places, I am starting to worry about the situation more and more and don't want them to feel different.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How often has this been a problem?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Sorry I don't understand the question
Are you asking how often have I been questioned about the difference in surnames?
Or how often he has refused to allow me to add my name?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have needed to register them at kids clubs, dentist, holiday clubs etc and each time a comment was made about the difference in our names
It really hit home when we went on our honeymoon with my husband, stepdaughter and my mum... I have the same surname as my mum ( Hanna). Alissa the same as her dad (Gilson), and I will be double barrelling my name to be Hanna-Gilson so we all had a connection... with the surname Connor, they were not clearly identified as my children and we did field questions throughout the holiday. I don't want to have to explain the situation with their dad and I don't want them to feel different. I actually wish I had double barrelled their name on registering them but then hindsight is a wonderful thing. I need to understand how courts view this type of request as I'm sure it's a common wish from separated couples. As I don't want to change their name only add mine I'm hoping they will be understanding
Expert:  Clare replied 1 month ago.

Thank you that was what I needed - and yes hindsight is an awesome thing

You are free to use your name for the children at holiday clubs etc - but not anywhere "official".

To use a double barrelled name - or even use it as a new middle name - you need either the consent of the father or an Order from the Court.

The Court is very reluctant to agree to a change of name in general circumstances.

However since you wish to double barrel rather than change you have a reasonable chance of success.

However do not stress that you so not wish them to feel "different" - it is not an unusual position and many of their class mates will be in the same situation.

Also when dealing with anyone else do not talk about "allowing" contact - it will give the wrong picture of the flexible approach you actually use!

The starting point is to try and discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation - you have to attend the Mediation Information and Assessment meeting even if he will not.

If that fails you can apply to the court for a specific issue order using a form C100 and paying the fee of £215.

Take a calm and measured approach and emphasise that it is a way of linking the "new"family without losing the old.

I hope that this is of assistance please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have already researched the process and I'm aware of the mediation and court route. He is not going to say yes so what I really need to know is the likelihood the court will grant the order
I have avoided going to court up until now as I didn't want a battle and felt I had been fair. He walked out on us but I never allowed how I felt about him effect my decisions with how I would like my kids relationship to be with their father. I guess this is why I said allow as I know many women in the same situation that have a very different approach when it comes to access and dealing with the ex. If I'm going to go to court then I will probably look to settling all the other things regarding custody so I have been a bit aprehensive.
I really need to understand what I'll win the case. What cases have gone in the favour of parents wanting the double barrelled name. So not so much what I have to do but what I need to prove to win the decision
Expert:  Clare replied 1 month ago.

Anyone who guarantees the outcome of a court case is misleading you.

We can give our best indication but in the end too much depends on the personalities of the Magistrates or District Judge and how well you and your ex give evidence - none of which are predictable.

In addition each case is decided on its specific fact and such cases are very rarely reported.

The leading case on the matter is well reported here

You can find the Welfare checklist that the courts follow here

You do not have a great case for changing their names BUT since you are introducing a middle/double barrel name you have a chance of success - it is a matter of showing that there are positive reasons for ding so - which is why I refer to the idea of showing that it is how you are linking the new extended family - your chidlren and his together.

If you are planning a joint child then delaying until that is a reality may assist.

In addition if you wait a few years (say until they are 10) their wishes will also have more wieght

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