A couple who applied to the court to have their granddaughter legally known by their surname were unsuccessful recently.
The couple had had a special guardianship order made on their behalf and were raising the girl as if she were their child. Her parents were drug addicts and due to their inability to provide appropriate care for her she was placed with her grandparents. They gave her outstanding care of the kind her parents could not provide. The grandparents placed great store on the name change, arguing that it would be emotionally problematic for the girl to continue to be known by her father’s surname. In essence, they wanted to be able to preserve the fiction that she was their daughter and not the daughter of her real parents.
The Court of Appeal decided that in cases such as this honesty was the best policy. The child would have to be made aware of and face up to the fact that her family circumstances were such that she was being brought up by her grandparents, not her parents.
The request was therefore refused and occasional visitation rights were granted to the parents.