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I am looking for information from parents that may have gone through something similar or a legal rep that may know some info.

I left a violent relationship when my daughter was little, my ex went to jail for the final assault on me. Once he was released he attempted custody of my daughter but during the court process he put his new girlfriend’s 2 year old in hospital and I got full custody of my daughter as the judge feared what he might do if he got hold of her. We also have restraining orders stating that there is not to be any contact of any form with me and my daughter. I am now engaged to a wonderful guy and we are getting married early next year. My daughter, now 11, has stated that she wants to take his last name. She also wants to be adopted by him but this can be a very long process and rather expensive so this will come a bit a bit later.

I have no idea where her father is, quite possibly in jail, as he has been in and out for various assualts in the last 10 years. After looking at the Births, Deaths and Marriages site and going through forms, it says that we need my father’s permission to change it, and I know that there is no way that he will allow her name to be changed. Her last name is mine and not his as I knew while I was pregnant that I was going to escape his rage one day so wanted her to have my surname.

Has anyone had their child’s surname changed without the signature of the other parent and was this a tedious process?
By what I can gather from documents and what I have read it seems as though some court documents can be enough to get the change without his signature.


Posted anonymously, 13th March 2014


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  • My cousin had a similar issue. She was to make sure her child had no contact with his father or the fathers family because of violence and drug use. I’m not sure exactly what she had to do or how she did it, but she had the help of child protective services


  • I would seek legal advice. I would think she can change her name when she reaches 18.


  • I believe you can seek permission from the courts and explain the situation. Might be tedious but worth it. Call legal aid for advice


  • Wish you luck. Surely family law can help given your ex husbands history etc.


  • I would say your situation would be an exception to the rule. Pretty sure you won’t need dads consent with his history


  • I truly wish you all the very best with this and hope that you found some useful advice


  • Good Luck, my daughter (step) mother is passed away so we are trying to change her name into ours (her fathers name). Births Deaths and Marriages (NSW) are so painful. Good Luck


  • My understanding is you will need his permission, if he won’t give it or isn’t around you need to apply to the Family Court, however you can just use a different surname for your children without going through all the other drama, this happens a lot and usually with having your child being known at school with a different surname, probably a good idea until she is older and can legally change it herself.


  • I would see a lawyer, and i hope it works out well :)


  • Seek professional advice becasue it may be that its different in different states…good luck


  • I think you need to get some advice and put an add in the paper and then start her using your partners last name


  • You can start using his surname at school so get educational documents are all in the new surname. I think after a certain amount of time you can change it officially (I am unsure how long). You can probably just call the registry and find out the steps. I am almost certain you can change it without the father’s signature.


  • I’d get some advice from legal aid. Its obviously important to her and there must be way to change her surname. I think she will be issued with a new birth certificate which will show her previous name and the change to the new name, Good luck.


  • I know that you can do it if she has been using your new hubbies name at school etc for more than 12 months but I am unsure of the specifics. Because of safety issues you may even be able to do it without the dads permission so definately do as others have suggested and contact Legal Aid.


  • I had my daughters name changed by at that time going to a JP that knew use and he did up a letter stating she was to be know legally by the name of Chandler until she was 18 were she could revert back to her name on her birt cert or apply to have her name changed as we found you needed the father’s permission even thou he was not on her birth cert, I had to take this letter to the doctors who than changed her name she was 3 at the time than change it at medicare than when she started pre school than school the letter had to go with her birth cert so she was than registered with the last name Candler also we opened her bank account in chandler center link so everything was in Chandler except her birth cert. At high school she than got her tax file number as she had plenty of id in Chandler the same as when she got her licence and job. All she ever wanted was her Dad the one that raised her to be on her birth cert so for a 21st birthday gift I than applied to births deaths and marriages I sent them a letter explaining and was grant permission so fist we put him on as father paid for that than we changed her last name to Chandler on it and paid for that than I got a new copy and we gave that to her for her birthday and she loved it… even when she got married she told her husband she would not change her last name she wanted to keep it as it took her along time to officially be her Dad’s daughter.


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