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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2724
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I have gone through a divorce - granted in November

Resolved Question:

Hi .
I have gone through a divorce - granted in November 2015, and now my friend wife has been to Slater hellis solicitors to instruct them that she wants to change my children's surname's...
My eldest boy is 4, and well aware of what his name is, my other boy is 1 today and unfortunately we split up before he was born.
My ex wife's maiden name is ***** ***** surname is ***** ***** now she wants the boys surnames to be McDermott-Smith...
I would like to know where I stand in this situation please as I do not want to consent to this change. If any change was to be made I would consider Smith-McDermott but I feel that undermining the boys surnames is just a ploy to hit back at me with from the divorce.
I am not an absent father, there is no history of violence or abuse etc, and I have regular contact and contribute £300 per month to their wellbeing.
Please can you help
Thank you *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel that changing their names will be very confusing for my 4 year old especially, he already has had enough to deal with in the last 18months.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for your question. As you were married to the mother you have parental responsibility and she cannot change their surname without your consent. If you do not consent to this and no agreement can be reached, then she will need to pursue a court application for a specific issue order.I would suggest that you make a referral to an independent mediator (you can find local ones here: familymediationcouncil.org.uk). The mediator will assist you both in reaching an amicable agreement that is in the children's best interests. For your information the Court will take into consideration the following when making a decision regarding the application:1.The wishes and feelings of the child concerned2. The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs3. The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the courts decision4. The child’s age, sex, backgrounds and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision5. Any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering6. Capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs7. The powers available to the court in the given proceedingsIf you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Thank you.I have been given 14 days to consent from 4th May - the letter states that they will pursue a specific issue order with the court if I do not consent within this time, starting mediation I feel is not an adequate time frame to work within before o have to consent or not.There is absolutely no reason for this name change to take place other than ill feelings.If I just do not answer within the date given, would the court suggest mediation ? What is the likely outcome that a name change be granted If i do not consent??
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thank you - unless there has been domestic violence or child abuse concerns she cannot pursue the matter to court without her first attending a Mediation Information session to see if mediation is suitable.Without full details of the reasons by her for an application I cannot confirm whether she will be successful or not, but the court will only agree to it if it is in the best interests of the children.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Reasons within the letter state that she "wants them to have a surname in common with her", and " it is in no way to alter the arrangements already in place for me with the children, merely a reflection of things now we are divorced".
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for confirming, as you were married the fact of the marriage is important and case law has said that there would have to be strong reasons to change the name from the father's surname if the child was so registered. As, from what you have said, you have continuously been involved in the upbringing of the children and there are no other prevailing factors, she will find it difficult to change the surname for the reasons she has stated. Further case law has said that a change of surname should not be permitted unless it is shown that it would improve the children's welfare.However, it has recently been common for court's to agree to a compromise of a double-barrel surname in surname change disputes, however, I feel that the mother would need more reason why she is changing the name than she has already stated.I hope this assists you further. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for you help Harris.
Kind regards
Steve
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thank you - I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris