Anna Hunter, Director with Major Family Law, Specialist Divorce and children lawyers, Ponteland holds a Question and Answer column today in the Journal:

Dear Anna

I have recently divorced and reverted to my maiden name. Can I legally change my children’s surname so that we all use the same name?


Dear Barbara

You will need to obtain permission from the children’s father before taking any steps to legally change your children’s surname.

If he agrees you should obtain his permission in writing as evidence of his consent to the change. You will be asked for proof of the agreement, for example, when applying for a passport in the children’s new name.

If there is no agreement you will need to consider whether it would be appropriate to make an application to the court for a specific issue order to change the name.

The court will look at the circumstances of your situation and generally you will need to demonstrate good reason to change your children’s surname. Good reason might be if the children’s father has stopped playing a role in their lives or if there is real risk to the safety of the children.

Sometimes parents compromise and agree a double-barreled surname so the children are known by both surnames.

If you are unsure of your position please contact me to discuss in more detail.

Major column Jnl Thurs, Sept 17

Image by Alexander Henning Drachmann via Flickr (Creative Commons)