The internet is the premium place to bring your grievances and get a second, third, or fourth opinion. And few life topics are more loaded with potential grievance than co-parenting with an ex.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for not wanting his ex to give her new husband's last name to the kids. He wrote:
My ex is getting married and has spoken to my children about changing their surnames to match her new surname. This conversation was had without my prior knowledge and in my experience coercive. Since our separation (we were not married) she has had several boyfriends most of which have been introduced to our children.
Our original agreement on separation was that we would notify each other upon any major changes to our kids lives, new partners, living arrangements etc. This worked well for the first time she had a new partner, but has not been followed up since. In fact she moved in her husband(not husband at the time obviously) without telling me. And the kids felt guilty that they had not mentioned it when I found out.
I did not tell my kids off for this, I just laughed it off and said that it was nice to not make them feel awkward. Brief introduction to the new husband, I know absolutely nothing about him. I've tried to engage him in conversation on many occasions he just stuck to one-word answers and was eager to get away from me as soon as possible.
I didn't even know his surname until my ex approached me to add it to the kids surnames via a double barrel. I was speechless, didn't give an immediate answer. She continued to tell me the kids are all for it. Rather than have an argument I said I would think about it. I have absolutely no intention of letting my kids change their surnames to add his.
I believe the kids have been manipulated into thinking it's a great idea. ( I used to be manipulated during our relationship, and she still does to a point now but I'm more aware now)
When/if she splits up with her husband (she has a history )my kids will be stuck with a stupid surname.
I am not a fan of hyphenated surnames (double- barrel). Also the names are not unique.
Quick background about myself since my separation I've had joint custody of our children and have been in a relationship with my now wife nearly 7 years. My children have known her most of theie lives and they think the world of her, she has a good relationship with my ex too.
Despite having joint custody I pay child support and I'm suckered into paying more on occasion, the various ploys of which I won't get into here..... Anyway I feel like I've wasted your time. Just thought writing this down might help me rationalize the issue in my own mind. Am I the AH?
Absolutely not. No. I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice, but I feel like this is something I would consult a real lawyer about. If she is manipulating your kids into thinking that changing their names. A part of their identity, who they are, is a good idea, what other strings is she pulling behind the stages? Is other type of parental alienation at play? NTA.
NTA. And stand your ground. YOU are their father. When I was 6 and my sister was 9 my mother and step father conned us into this. (Bio dad sig was forged on the Family and Children Services docs apparently. This was in the 60’s). Stepdad was a horror. Ab*sive. They did it so stepdad didn’t feel awkward when “his” kids didn’t have his last name.
My sister and I resented our mother for this when we got older. Do not give up your rights, OP. and stay close to your kids. They’re being manipulated.
NTA the kids can change their own names when they reach 18 if they want. Until then, they aren’t old enough to make that decision/understand the implications right now (I changed my surname and very thankful I waited til I was older). Once they are old enough to make the decision for themselves, they can do so. Neither you or your wife should be making that devision for them.
This right here is why I can’t see myself having kids with someone I’m not married to. If I have a kid and I’m not married to the father, the kid is getting MY last name. This is ridiculous. How old are the damn kids?
NTA. You are an involved parent. Leave the name alone and be on the lookout for other forms of parental alienation. If they really want to all have the same last name, new husband and future kids can change their name to yours.
Clearly, OP is NTA here, there are some major red flags connected to this request.