Oh boy, does THAT bring back memories. We’re American but my son was born in South Africa, where we were told that by law, if my husband was going to be on the birth certificate, our son had to take his last name. We were mightily pissed but had no choice.
So I then called the US State Department to go about changing our son’s name, since we didn’t live in the US and therefore were not a resident of any state (you are supposed to use the legal system of the state where you live to make a name change). At first, all went smoothly – it turns out that the State Dept has a well-oiled system in place for name changes of expatriate Americans, due to adoptions, divorce, etc.
It came to a screeching halt in my case, though:
Bureaucrat: So, what is your reason for changing your son’s name?
Me: Well, it was always our intention to give him my last name, but the law in South Africa forbade it.
Bureaucrat: Well, I can’t help you then. That’s not a conventional reason for changing your son’s name.
I was spitting mad about this but could do nothing.
We ended up paying a sympathetic attorney in NH (where I attended high school and where my parents were still living) to finesse an application for a name change in that state, claiming that we were actually NH residents. We actually had to appear in person - father, mother, and child - but once we did the judge gave us zero hassle.
So $800 and a whole lot of headaches later, our son had the name we intended.
I loved South Africa, but boy is that a dumb law.
And don’t get me started on Social Security. Changing his name with them was the ordeal of a lifetime. I may never recover.