Judge of­fers harsh crit­i­cism to mother for name change


A Syd­ney judge has ruled that a Cape Breton mother’s con­duct was “de­vi­ous, ma­nip­u­la­tive and in­de­fen­si­ble” in chang­ing her young’s son last name with­out his fa­ther’s per­mis­sion.

Jus­tice Theresa Forg­eron, of the Supreme Court Fam­ily Divi­sion, said the Syd­ney mother ar­ranged to forge the sig­na­ture of the child’s fa­ther on the ap­pli­ca­tion to change the name.

“In sum­mary, the mother knew that the fa­ther would not con­sent to chang­ing the child’s sur­name. The mother there­fore took mat­ters into her own hands and sent a forged doc­u­ment to Vi­tal Sta­tis­tics,” said Forg­eron, in a de­ci­sion re­leased this week.

“The mother was strate­gic and ma­nip­u­la­tive through­out. The fa­ther’s sig­na­ture on the con­sent is forged,” said the judge.

The Cape Breton Post will not iden­tify the parties in­volved by name in a bid to pro­tect the iden­tity of the eight-year-old child.

The Vi­tal Sta­tis­tics divi­sion of Ser­vice Nova Sco­tia is re­spon­si­ble for regis­tra­tion of all vi­tal events of birth, death, mar­riage, still­birth and do­mes­tic part­ner­ship oc­cur­ring in Nova Sco­tia.

Forg­eron stopped short of de­ter­min­ing it was the mother who forged the sig­na­ture. The judge said only that the mother ar­ranged to have the sig­na­ture forged.

Ac­cord­ing to the de­ci­sion, when the child was born, he was reg­is­tered with the sur­name of his bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther.

Two months af­ter his birth, the mother be­gan a new re­la­tion­ship with an­other man that she has since mar­ried.

Forg­eron ruled that the mother changed the son’s name in 2012 in or­der to el­e­vate her hus­band’s sta­tus as the boy’s fa­ther.

In tes­ti­mony be­fore the court, the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther said he would never have agreed to have his name re­moved from his son and that the move was an at­tempt to un­der­mine his po­si­tion as the boy’s fa­ther.

In fil­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion for the name change, the mother also in­cluded a wit­ness sig­na­ture claim­ing the in­di­vid­ual saw the fa­ther sign the con­sent.

How­ever, in court tes­ti­mony, the wit­ness cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied watch­ing the fa­ther sign the ap­pli­ca­tion. Fur­ther, the wit­ness said she never even met the fa­ther prior to tes­ti­fy­ing in court.

The mother tes­ti­fied the wit­ness is in­cor­rect and con­fused.

Forg­eron said the mother was not truth­ful in her court tes­ti­mony and not cred­i­ble.

In re­fer­ring to a num­ber of le­gal cases in her de­ci­sion, Forg­eron cited that a sur­name is ev­i­dence of the bi­o­log­i­cal tie be­tween a child and par­ent and af­firms mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in a child’s life. Fur­ther, she said, a sur­name is a sym­bol of fil­i­a­tion.

In a reach­ing a de­ci­sion, Forg­eron or­dered the child is to have a hy­phen­ated sur­name fea­tur­ing the names of his step­fa­ther (first) and his bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther (last).

The judge also or­dered the mother pay the fa­ther $1,000 in court costs.

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