Mediation is a very important stage. Your child’s interests are what is most important here and it will be better for everyone involved to avoid going to Court.
Mediation usually has to be attended before any Children Act applications, but there are some exceptions. A trained, Family Mediator is independent and can review the situation from both sides. They can offer guidance to you both and hopefully find a reasonable and fair solution.
You should note that any agreements made at Mediation are not legally binding.
If you do reach agreement during Mediation, you can draw up a change of name deed and both parents must sign it.
If you can’t agree at mediation and you still want to change your child’s name, you will have to issue Court Proceedings at your local Family Court.
Any Court Orders made at the Court are enforceable and legally binding.
There are different Court Orders that can be issued by the Family Court. To change a child’s name, you would make a Specific Issue Order or a Prohibited Steps Order to stop the name change when you’ve not given permission.
You will need to prove to the Court that changing your child’s name is in their best interests.
For some children, it’s better to maintain a link to their biological parent, but the Court will look at each person and assess their level of commitment to the child. They will also consider any reasons to refuse the application.
The Outcome of Court Proceedings
It’s common for the Family Court to agree for a child’s surname to be changed to a double barrel, to include the surnames of the separated parents. This is usually the fairest result and it means that each parent has an equally strong role in their child’s life.
Our Family and Child Law Solicitors have many years’ of experience in dealing with disputes over children and can help you.