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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15597
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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I wish to change my daughters surname to husbands surname.

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I wish to change my daughter's surname to husband's surname. I wasn't married to her biological father and we have no contact with him. can I do it, or can she do it when she is a certain age??
Good day.

This is an info request to assist you better. Please continue on this thread.

Did your husband adopt her?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


How old is she?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

just turned 11 July

Is the biological father listed as the father of the child on the birth certificate?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, she has his surname

Would you be able to get the consent of the biological father to change her name?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Has a court, at any stage, granted you full guardianship of your daughter?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we were never married, there never was a custody battle between us. I had papers drawn up by a lawyer (parenting plan) to force him to see his daughter, but he never signed them and since he has remarried he hasn't seen his daughter and he has also decreased the maintenance (without going to court) and when I wanted to transfer the maintenance file from Rustenburg to Centurion - I was told the file was lost !!

Having practiced in Rustenburg, I am not surprised, frankly.

The problem is that he automatically became the guardian of your daughter when you listed him as the father of your child on the birth certificate. This is in terms of Section 18 of the Children's Act. There is a difference between guardianship on the one hand and custody and care on the other. The former has to do with legal decisions pertaining to the child. The latter has to do with rights to visitation, staying over at his place and things like that.

Further, section 25 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act require that, in order for you to change her surname, he either gives consent to it, or a court orders that the giving of consent is exempted in your particular case. There is an exception to this if you were awarded guardianship, but since he automatically have co-rights (with you) as a guardian, those rights will only seize if a High Court says that he no longer has those rights.

It does not sound as if he is going to object if you bring an application that you be declared the sole guardian and I think you should do this, as it is going to make things a lot easier in the future for a variety of things. You would have to bring an application to High Court in any case for the court to grant you exemption to change her name without having to obtain consent of the biological father.

This, unfortunately, necessitate that you obtain the services of an attorney and possibly an advocate in order to get sole guardianship. Like I said, this is probably going to be an uncontested application, meaning it will go quick and possibly cheaply.

Once you have that order in hand, that you are sole guardian and that you in any case do not require his permission to change her name, you can proceed with the process of changing her name. You can do both applications in one and at the same time.

I hope this helps you a little bit, but if you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively. I do not get anything unless you rate the service.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

can you recommend someone in centurion area?

I would love to, but I am not allowed to make direct referrals as per the terms and conditions of Just Answer. I suggest you go to and find someone that specializes in family law in your area.
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