Surname is a significant part of a person’s identity. It carries with it one’s ancestry, ethnic background, place of origin, and marital status. Traditionally, if a woman gets married, she would change her surname to her husband’s surname. A child born to married parents would also bear the father’s surname.
Under the Family Law, parents are required to immediately register their child after birth. However, with the recent changes of gender roles and as a significant effect of feminism, parents can now agree on which surname their child should be registered. Hence, the parents may agree to register the child with the mother’s surname. Because of this, it is already bizarre to find a household where parents and their child bear the same surnames.
In an event of divorce, the parent’s separation can also have a substantial impact on the surnames of the family members. In most cases involving divorce, the child continues to bear the surname bestowed to him at birth. Mother can have the option to resume using her maiden name and is unlikely to assume her new husband’s surname. Children born in the second marriage would use their father’s surname.
If the mother wants the child from a former marriage to use the surname of her new husband, the Family Court will decide based on established principles. The two most basic rules are: first, the mother should seek for father’s approval, and second, the court will decide with the presumption that it is in the best interest of the child.
In changing the child’s surname after divorce of parents, the court will also see to it that some considerations are stringently met. Thus, the court may possibly grant the change of child’s surname if it has been establish that the action would be beneficiary to the child in terms of identification with its mother, step-father, and any step-siblings, father’s preference, child’s preference, or succession rights. The court may also give special consideration if the previous surname of the child induces scrutiny, confusion, and embarrassment.
Changing surnames of a child after separation or divorce is a complex matter of the Family Law. In such instance, the court is basically concern in people who take matters in their own hands. In all cases involving name change, you will need your partner’s consent or court’s approval in order to proceed. If you have some concerns, do not hesitate to consult one of our family lawyers.