Most family law matters that come before the court regarding children concern disputes as to where a child is to live, or how much time they are to spend with a parent. However in a recent Family Court decision, the Court not only had to rule on the amount of time two children were to spend with each parent, but was also forced to step in and choose the name of a two year old girl because her parents could not agree on a name.
The child’s parents separated before the child was born and there had been no agreement in what the child’s name would be. The child had not yet been registered and the mother referred to the child by one name and the father referred to the child by another name.
The child already went by the father’s surname, however in an attempt to compromise, the mother offered to hyphenate the first name. The father would not agree however, claiming that the name the mother picked (even the hyphenation) was blasphemous to his Islamic faith.
It became apparent to Justice Forrest that the father was somewhat controlling of the mother and her capability to act independently of him.
Justice Forrest stated, “I am drawn to the conclusion that the father’s opposition to the name (chosen by the mother) is yet another example of his determination to control the mother and her parenting of these two children.”
What was also interesting in this case was that the father was married to another woman at the time of his “relationship” with the mother and in a sense had two women “on the go”. He also had children to his other marriage.
The Family Court decided that whilst the girl will ultimately decide for herself which name she preferred to be called, it was the Court’s decision that until such time, the first name chosen by the mother should be used and ordered that the girl be registered by that name.
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