My daughter won’t use her father’s surname, what should I do?

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(PHOTO: Getty/Gallo Images)
(PHOTO: Getty/Gallo Images)

She doesn’t want his surname

Question

I’m 25 and a mother of two. My firstborn uses her father’s surname even though we were not married, and he has done nothing for her. Recently she told me she doesn’t want to use his name but she’s only six and Home Affairs will not make any changes without the father’s signature. Why should the father have this right when he doesn’t care about what the child eats or wears? How can I make this right for her?

Answer

Sometimes the decisions we make when looking at life through rose-coloured glasses come back to haunt us. You might have done this in good faith at the time, but now it’s affecting your child. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to change your daughter’s surname without her father’s consent.

You need to talk to him about the child’s wishes. If you anticipate he won’t take the news well, I suggest you seek the help of a family counsellor. With this support, the matter can hopefully be discussed in a civil manner and you’ll be able to come to an amicable decision. Bear in mind that your child is a minor and what’s in her best interest is what should be looked at here, regardless of whether you and the father have a relationship or not.

Our Lawyer advices that, when dealing like an issue like this one, “This is where a child’s best interests have to be looked at.” You do not want your child to hate you because you denied her her rights. But what you also need to understand is that you need to discuss this with the father as well, to get his perspective of the story. 

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