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to be seriously thinking about registering the baby in my name

(169 Posts)
frenchboy Tue 06-Aug-13 22:46:40

DP and I are engaged, and expecting our first child imminently.

Recently we've had a lot of stress and money worries over CSA and contact issues for his daughter. It's got to the point where I'm wondering what the hell I've let myself in for, and often can't see myself staying around to put up with this sort of nonsense for much longer.

With this in mind, and the fact that even if all this were sorted out we could never afford even the most basic of wedding ceremonies, I'm getting increasingly sceptical about registering our baby with his surname.

Aside from all the practical issues - travel, school etc, I'd quite like my child and I to have the same family name. If DP and I worked through everything, and somehow got the money together one day to get married, we'd need to reregister the birth anyway so it would be no problem 'updating' baby's surname too.

AIBVU to be considering this? Haven't even broached the subject with DP yet, but he'd be very p'd off. Might leave it until we're actually registering to bring the topic up....

pretty do you know how your children feel about having to make those corrections and explain them? i'd find it quite invasive especially if it was a sore subject due to my father's absence.

i keep asking this question of people because those saying how ridiculous doesn't bother me in the slightest never mention their children's perspective and how they feel about them having to make these explanations and share private information unnecessarily and that they may not feel comfortable divulging to strangers.

I would double barrel the name, just from a practical viewpoint. You want your DP's name on the birth certificate and you say that you want the relationship to work. If you refuse to give your DC, your DP's name in any shape or form, what you are saying is "we are not really a family" and then you really won't be! If you DO split up, regardless, then it will be easier to claim through the CSA (or whatever they are now called) if your DP is named on the birth certificate. My DS had MY name at birth, but that was because his birth father didn't come and register him with me, now he shares my surname and my DH adopted him after we married.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 07-Aug-13 09:08:03

swallowed Well, in that case, parents shouldn't separate ever, in order to protect DCs from the stigma of having to explain that 'Mummy doesn't live with them' or 'I spend weekends with Dad'.
And don't get me started on subsequent relationships "that's my stepdad" is such a horrendous thing for a DC to have to explain, isn't it?

Different surnames are no longer unusual; in our l - it is a convenient

burberryqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 09:09:00

agree to Double barrell it in whichever order it sounds better -

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 07-Aug-13 09:10:03

swallowed Well, in that case, parents shouldn't separate ever, in order to protect DCs from the stigma of having to explain that 'Mummy doesn't live with them' or 'I spend weekends with Dad'.
And don't get me started on subsequent relationships "that's my stepdad" is such a horrendous thing for a DC to have to explain, isn't it?

Different surnames are no longer unusual; in our local primary school there are more DCs with different names than the same.
What happens if the OP marries in future and has more DCs? Will she give all her DCs her name rather than her DH?

frenchboy Wed 07-Aug-13 09:15:31

I have thought about 'what if...' Etc future scenarios, and know that if I do give the baby my surname then I'll be committing to keeping that same family name myself. Regardless of what might happen in the future.

that's irrational china.

in this instance the parents are not married, he already has a history with NRP'ing and the OP is not feeling confident about the future of the relationship.

how saying that in this case you should put your name on the birth certificate equates to parents should never separate is a mystery.

and still no one is answering the question from the child's perspective.

YANBU to not accept a baby should automatically have the father's surname, but YABU not to discuss it. Both surnames are equally valid and you will have to make a decision somehow. You could pick one (flip a coin or pick the nicer name), double-barrel, or even pick a totally new name.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 07-Aug-13 09:44:36

OP I'm not sure I understand - on the one hand you say that if you and your DP do get married, you'll reregister the biith so your baby shares your married name, but on the other you say that if it doesn't work out with your DP, and you marry someone else in the future, any subsequent DCs you have will share your name, which you will keep, not their Dads?

What is the issue here? Is it the name? Or the implication?

I understand that for some people a name is very significant - my ex tried to convince me to change mine back to my maiden name after we divorced - but the long term implications of what you decide to do now could create issues down the line when you least expect it!

flowery Wed 07-Aug-13 09:54:07

He would have no more right to be angry about the baby not having his name than you would if the baby did have his name.

Sounds like he is just assuming that even though you are not married and have no intention of getting married (which surely means you are not engaged? confused), the baby will have his name instead of your own. You need to knock that assumption on the head straightaway, and have an adult discussion about what name to give the baby, whether it's yours, his, or a double barrelled version or whatever.

SoupDragon Wed 07-Aug-13 09:55:19

especially having to explain no, my mum's surname is x, i have my 'dad's' name.

I imagine that 99% of people would be totally unsurprised that a child has a different surname to on or other of their parents. A complete non-event.

Regardless, there is a world of difference between an involved, but separated, father and one who fucked off.

bluebell8782 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:18:59

OP - I get the impression that you have started this with the unfortunate mindset of 'YOU deciding whether or not to 'let' the child have it's father's surname' - I don't think this is purely your decision to make. What if the father doesn't want the child to have your surname - is that not equally as valid?

It may be old fashioned to assume the child gets the fathers name - but to then do it the other way around and assume the child has yours is just as bad! Why does the man have to have a ring on his finger in order to have an equal decision on what surname his own child has? I just don't get that. I think THAT is old-fashioned!

You've said "I'm just not sure about giving our child his family name when I can't say how much longer we'll be a family." The child IS his family regardless of whether you split. What if you get 50/50 - going by your reasons it may be 'difficult' for him to have a child with a different surname...

SoupDragon - I agree with your last statement. It's completely different.

Easiest and most fair thing in this situation would be to have a double-barrelled name. If people think that's pretentious that's their problem.

Isetan Wed 07-Aug-13 10:40:39

swallowedAfly, DD is 6 and a very opinionated 6 year old at that, if she had a problem she'd tell me. I have my fathers name who has been absent my entire life and It doesn't bother me. If it bothers DD in the future then we will discuss it but I suspect she probably has my "who cares" attitude on the subject. Her surname is the also the same as her grandparents who adore her and she them. My apologies for not consulting with her at the time of her birth.

I have sole custody of my daughter and I have never had to explain why her surname is different to mine, when we travel internationally I take a copy of the document stating that I have sole custody but I have never been asked for it.

Break-up, don't break up, use his name or use your fathers name but its about bloody time that adult conversations were had.

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Wed 07-Aug-13 10:55:08

Having the same name doesn't protect you from officious customs types. My cousin took her little girl to Canada for a family wedding - cousin is married, she, her DH and little girl share a surname. Little girl aged about 4 was aggressively asked by a large, imposing customs official "where is your father?" Only after several minutes was cousin allowed to intervene - after she'd rephrased the question to "where's daddy, why didn't he come with us?" little girl got it and explained that daddy was at home with baby brother because daddy had to work. A verbal explanation from a 4-year-old was enough, which makes me question how serious a concern it was, but it was very scary for her.

ChunkyPickle Wed 07-Aug-13 10:55:45

Why is everyone saying 'use his name, or use her fathers name'.

Surely you mean use his fathers name or her fathers name - in both cases it's the grandfather's name - just because you're a man doesn't make you magically own the name more than a woman does!

Both names are valid choices, personally I'd be very put off by someone who made the assumption that we'd be using his name for our children (although DS does has his Dad's name, for shallow, scansion reasons), or who demanded that I changed my name upon marriage.

samandi Wed 07-Aug-13 11:06:37

*Why is everyone saying 'use his name, or use her fathers name'.

Surely you mean use his fathers name or her fathers name - in both cases it's the grandfather's name - just because you're a man doesn't make you magically own the name more than a woman does!*

The odd thing - but the only conclusion I can come to after many debates on this issue - is that some people do actually believe that men own their names in a way that women don't. They believe that a woman's use of any name is only temporary - whether it is the name she is born with or the name she takes on marriage.

I suppose it comes down to how you view these things, but I certainly do not believe that men are any more entitled to own their surnames than women are.

bluebell8782 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:16:36

This thread and others similar only goes to prove that despite protestations that they consider everyone equal, some women really do have an inherent thought process that they are 'top parent'.

Yes, we carry the baby and give birth, but this is purely a matter of science. It doesn't mean that we are the superior decision maker and it also doesn't mean that women go through this because we are going to be a better parent than the father.

Women happen to carry the baby, the man doesn't but is still an equal.

if you're not married only the woman can register the birth and it is her registration process. so it is actually up to her in law.

she can also choose to take him with her or not, put his name on or not, though obviously he can contest and have it added and i'm not suggesting this as a way forward just looking at the law and process.

so actually in law their opinions are not equally valid because they are not married and the child of an unmarried woman needs registering by the mother.

have just checked my facts and i'm spot on before anyone says i'm wrong wink

if an unmarried man wanted to register the birth of a child without the mother present he'd need a legal document signed by her to do so. as an unmarried mother registering the child, the child's surname, whether to include the father on the birth certificate etc is entirely up to the woman.

bluebell8782 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:35:33

That doesn't make it right or fair. And until attitudes like that change and people stand up and bring attention to it, the law will never change and we'll always be stuck in the dark ages.

yeah, yeah. our biggest priorities are making it so men have the right to tell women what surnames their offspring get. not making sure men actually financially support their offspring or tackling the levels of domestic violence etc. it's those poor menz we need to worry about.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 07-Aug-13 11:42:19

OP, I was in a very similar situation to you and I decided to give the baby my surname. In the end we split up while I was still pregnant and I ended up registering the birth alone, so not only does DS have my surname but his 'dad' (I use the term loosely) isn't even on the BC (we weren't married). Seven years on, I'm glad I made that decision to give him my name because DS's dad chose never to see him, nor take any responsibility for him, nor be involved in his life whatsoever.

He also had issues wrt CSA/kids from a previous relationship and all I'll say in regard to that is the way he treats them and how he deals with the CSA for them, is a MASSIVE indicator for how he'll treat you/your child should you split. If only I'd known that then <naive> hmm.

smokinaces Wed 07-Aug-13 11:56:32

OP, I did get married prekids. So my children both have my (now ex) husbands name. We have been separated 4 years, and the divorce is finally going through. I had to think long and hard about my own name - whether I wanted to revert back to my maiden name or keep the same name as my children. At 7 and 5 they discussed it with me and asked me to stay as Ms Smokin, the same as them. My ex husband is also ok with this situation, though I think his girlfriend finds it more difficult.

If I wasnt married, the children would have had my name. And ex-h knew that. it was part why we got married tbh.

I dont think YABU. If you do end up getting married then you can both take your now husbands name if you wish. But it is harder to change baby's name from his to yours, simply as he has to give "permission" until baby is 18.

So personally I would say YANBU. I do think CSA/Step children can really rock future relationships, and if you're unhappy now you will become resentful in the postnatal stages unless you manage to sort some of this out.

bluebell8782 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:04:01

swallowedAfly - you are missing the point. I'm saying there should be equal decision making on BOTH sides for things like this. Your sentence about women's biggest priorities making it so men have the right to tell women what surnames their offspring get is completely opposite to what I have been saying. NO-ONE gets to demand anything - both parents should have a discussion and if there is a stale-mate, think of a compromise.

This thread is not about domestic violence or the fact the OP is worried her partner may not pay - that is completely different. You've just lumped all 'menz' into one category which is unfair.

There is an assumption here that the OP's partner is going to disappear and not pay which I can see is based on other people's terrible situations - this is not what appears to be happening here.

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