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VIC Family Law - How to Process Grandchild's Name Change?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Lacoca, 28 January 2016.

  1. Lacoca

    Lacoca Member

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    Hi,
    I have a question on the permanent care of grandchildren.

    I was given the permanent care and custody of children of 1st child 5 years ago and in Dec '15, the 2nd child. We successfully changed the 1st ones' surname to ours, as we have our own school-aged children. They all consider themselves siblings, although they know the situation.

    The youngest one starts school this year & refers to herself including our family surname. I applied for a name change, including the care order, & detailed the reasons for wanting the change.

    They go to a small school where all the children are well known. There has been no contact with the parents; they cannot be located, and the mothers' name is only on the child's' birth certificate.

    The application was denied by BDM, stating that it was insufficient grounds to change the name. We need to get another court order requesting the right to change. How do we go about this under Family Law and what might be the cost?

    Thank you
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    You'll need to file an initiating application with the Federal Circuit Court (you can file for the Family Court if you want, but it would likely get transferred to the FCC anyway) seeking an order for change of name. An initiating application costs about $480 and you can self-represent in doing so.

    I note that you will likely need to attempt mediation with the parents if there are no existing court orders in place that formally give you parental responsibility. Legal Aid will do the legwork of trying to track down the parents (as the parents will need to be a party to proceedings, even if they don't participate), and if the parents refuse to participate or are unresponsive, then you will be granted a s60I certificate which is mandatory before court proceedings can commence, except in very limited circumstances, such as where domestic violence is an issue.
     
  3. Lacoca

    Lacoca Member

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    Thanks for that info.

    I have a permanent care order from the children's' court, till the children are 18. The parents' have not responded or had any visitation since the last child was placed in my care. That was 2.5 years ago. No correspondence at all. So if the father isn't on the birth certificate, is he still required to participate in any decision making? Also, what do you think my chances are of being approved?

    Can I just " assume" her surname at school, e.g.; when enrolling, the ask what name the child prefers, can't I just note that she prefers our surname?

    Thanks
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    As far as I'm aware, it's not a requirement for the father to be involved since he's not on the birth certificate, but he could request to become a party to proceedings and the court will likely allow him to do so.

    I'm not sure about the likelihood of success. It really depends if the parents choose to get involved and how much of the story has been left unsaid. You can certainly give your surname as the preferred name. Using a different name to what is on your birth certificate mainly leads to complications down the track when applying for passports, Medicare and other forms of ID.
     
  5. Lacoca

    Lacoca Member

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    Thanks,

    Sounds very complicated & costly.

    Not sure if the parents even could be located, that they would agree. I mean there is nothing for them to gain & it's certainly not an amicable situation given I have custody of their 2 children.

    I may just go with "assuming", for school purposes & other children not asking awkward questions. The staff all know the arrangement & are happy to accommodate our wishes.

    That's fine re passports, etc. Really doesn't matter there. Just want the children to not feel " different" from each other. Wasn't an issue changing the 1st child's' name but the law must've changed.

    Thanks, you've been most helpful.
     
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    I'd make an appointment with the school principal. He / she might just agree for the child to use their 'preferred name'. Take any court documentation in. You might find the school reports will have the birth certificate name on them but the school might be able to make some concessions without all the grief of court.
     
    Lacoca likes this.
  7. Lacoca

    Lacoca Member

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    Thanks, did that today
     

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