In a case cited as HAYES & YEO  FMCAfam 1502 (delivered in December 2012), the mother sought the change of the children’s surname to accord with her surname. The children in this case were 17 and 16. Both of the boys attended with their parents for a child inclusive conference for the purposes of the preparation of a family consultant’s memorandum to the Court pursuant to s.11F of the Family Law Act.
Prior to the family law court application, the mother has allowed the children to use the surname of the mother wherever it has been legal for them to do so and they have been able.
The father says that he only became aware of their use of the new surname on Facebook and in other arenas in recent times. But, he did not take any action to restrain them using that surname by either having a discussion as to it with their mother, or by seeking Court intervention in the making of a restraining order until further order.
In 21 months leading up to the case, the only correspondence between the children and their father had been by email correspondence emanating from the father on two occasions and weekly texts emanating from the father. The children had not responded.
The father sought that there be no change of surname until they are adults and can make that decision for themselves.
The family consultant found that the children could clearly articulate their views and formed a professional opinion that their views are primarily a product of their own emotional and cognitive processing and had not been formed as a result of undue influence from another party and, in particular, from the mother or her husband.
There full reasons for decision can be viewed here, however the Court decided to permit the children to change their surnames.
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