Ask an expert
Question

01 Nov 2013

Father taking child for weekends
My child's father and I are divorced and I would like to find out at what age he can insist on our son staying at his place every second weekend? I would also like to know if I can change my son's surname to mine without his dad's consent?
Answer 1,994 views
Expert
Co-Parenting Expert and Family Mediator

02 Nov 2013

Thank you for your question. 
First it is very important to not make decisions based on anger and hurt.
To children, Mom and Dad will always be their family and if visitation has been un-equally distributed, it must be looked at, not that it is the parents right to visit the children but the children's right to visit their parents.
Unless due to circumstances of safety, parents have EQUAL rights and responsibilities and no parent should have to insist or negotiate to have to see and have a relationship with their children.
I like to remind parents that: Parents have NO rights. Children have rights and parents have RESPONSIBILITIES!
As for changing a child's name without consent (which I don't think is permissible by law), even if the biological father is not a present father, remember that it is your child's father and half of who he is. Doing so would give a silent message to your son that half of him is not a good half. Your intentions are most probably very good ones, but learning to apply precisely "what is in the best interest of the child" is what is going to determine your child's emotional happiness and stability for his future.
I trust this has assisted you to understand that decisions should be made by both parents with the focus on the love they share for their child.