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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35211
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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My daughter is 9 amid has my maiden name as her surname. Her

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My daughter is 9 amid has my maiden name as her surname. Her biological father is named on the birth certificate but she has not seen him nor had any type of contact with him since she was 1. Her step dad has been her dad for the past 5 years and we are getting married in Jan 2016. We have a daughter together who is 4. When we get married my eldest wants her name to change to my new married surname as she does not want to be the odd one out. I have no idea where her biological father is, how to contact or even if he is still alive. We have no contact with any member of her biological father. About 6 years I registered with a solicitor that her father had been absent from her life since 2007 and nothing has changed since then. Can I change her name by deed poll or do I need to go to court or what should I do. My daughter is quite distressed at the idea of being different and I have agreed to keep my maiden name after getting married but she says she feels bad I have to do that despite my reassurances. My daughter has epilepsy which is aggravated by stress so I am desperate to get answers for her. Her biological father is unaware of this diagnosis and would not even recognise her if sat beside her. Her step dad understands her medical condition and was there from diagnosis and they are very close. This is very important Tony daughter and I desperately want to know where to start, what I need to do, how much it will cost and how likely it would be to be successful. Any help would be gratefully appreciated.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help youWhat active steps have you taken to try and trace him or his family?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's a very long story but the end of our relationship was due to domestic violence whilst I was pregnant. After my daughter was born we did try again but it did not work. He was an active father in her life for the first year but found it difficult as he could not cope with us not being in a relationship. After her first birthday he saw 3 times over the following 8 months and paid little or no contribution financially. After much discussion he walked away as he felt unable to give her the level of stability she deserved and we have had no contact since then. He was never involved with his family and I never had anything to Dow it's them except one brother who have tried to contact but he no longer resides at the address I had for him. Her father was always quite transient and rarely stayed in the same address for more than a year. He is originally from Northern Ireland but I only know the town name and have no address for him. I have no address, no phone number and no idea where to start to contact him. My daughter is also very content with the current situation and currently has no desire to have nay contact with him.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have contacted his old employer but they would not give me any information and would not confirm if he still worked for them.
In Order to change her name you need either his agreement or an Order from the Court.To obtain the Order you will need to show that you have done everything possible to trace her father - including instructing an Enquiry Agent If that fails then you can apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order for the change of name detailing everything you have done to try and trace her father.That should be sufficient to convince the Court to agree IF they feel you g=have made every possible effort to trace him.I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My worry about trying to contact him is that may daughter has no recollection of him, is content with her step father who has been living with us for 5 years and if I did manage to find him (although I think it unlikely) the upheaval if he then decided to try and have contact and was inconsistent again could cause her a great deal of stress which would exasperate her epilepsy which he has no idea she has. Am I best not to try then? Is there no alternative?
I am so sorry but there is no way of doing anything before sh is 16 unless you make active efforts to trace him
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So how would I try to contact him?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there a way of tracing him without contacting him and then deciding what was best?
That is what using an enquiry agent (private detective) would achieve
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
And where do you start finding one and have you any idea what the cost would be?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would a court not take my daughters wishes into consideration, the fact he has been absent for 8 of her 9 years and lack of knowledge of he medical conditions be taken into consideration?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
At what point does the law consider a parent to have removed themselves from the role of parental responsibility? or your local Thompsons will help It should cost between £100 and £200Your daughter is a little young for her wishes to be decisive, but they will be important and there is a reasonable chance of success
Clare and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would it be better to try and have her biological fathers parental responsibility removed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What would the court and solicited costs be after trying to trace her biological father?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Has this session now ended?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am very disappointed that the session ended before my questions were finished. They are still related to the same topic and I was asking if I was better to try another avenue. It is especially important for me to understand where the law stands on the point of at what stage they consider an absent parent to have willingly given up their parental responsibility through their own lack of contact with their child and the fact they have made effort to make contact. Her biological father knows where my parents live as this is the place he used to see her in her in that first year and they remain at that address. He has made no effort to give me a reasonable chance of easily contacting him should she wish to (even though she doesn't). I agree fathers deserve the right to see their children and those rights should be protected but surely a parent who has chosen to be absent for 8 out of 9 years has willingly foregone that right?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also remember, you don’t have to take my response as the final word on your question. Feel free to continue the conversation until you’re satisfied. No extra charge. How do I continue?
HiMy apologies - I am afraid that I had to go to sleep - the session is not ended at all.The only way that your ex can lose Parental Responsibility in this situation is if your husband adopts her (when he is your husband)Otherwise there is simply no basis on which his Parental Responsibility will be removed despite his lack if interest let alone committmentThe cost of tracing him would be between £100 and £200 and the Court fee for the application will be £215.Be aware that even with the adoption route your ex will HAVE To be traced (although Social Services will do that if necessary)Please feel free to continue asking followups - I will always answer them
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much for the reply. I will write an updated review and appreciate all your help

You are most welcome