Changing a Child’s Surname

Changing a Child’s Surname

To change a child’s surname, you need the consent of everyone who holds parental responsibility for that child. Parental responsibility can only be obtained in the following ways;

  1. You are the child’s biological mother and therefore automatically obtain parental responsibility. 
  2. You are the father of the child and you were married to the mother meaning you would automatically obtain parental responsibility.
  3. You are the father of the child, your name is on the birth certificate and the child was born after the 1st December 2003.
  4. You have a Court Order in your favour granting you parental responsibility for the child.

If you do not have the consent of all with parental responsibility then you will be unable to change the child’s surname. You must have consent even if, for example, the child’s father has no involvement in their life but is named on the birth certificate.

Deed Poll

Once consent has been obtained, a child’s surname can be changed by Deed Poll. This a document which is drafted by a solicitor setting out the name which the child used to be known by and the name which they will now adopt and assume.

The Deed Poll is signed by those with parental responsibility and witnessed by an independent third party. This document can then be sent to agencies such as HM Passport Office to have the child’s passport re-issued with their new surname.

It is important to note that a Deed Poll name change will not change the name on a child’s birth certificate.

What if Someone Refuses to Give Consent?

If someone with parental responsibility refuses to give consent to the proposed name change, an application to the Court would need to be made for a Specific Issue Order. Here the Court would make an ultimate determination as to whether the child’s surname can be changed or not. These proceedings would usually conclude with 2 hearings.

If the Court makes an Order changing the child’s surname, this Order would need to be sent to agencies such as HM Passport Office to have the child’s passport re-issued with their new surname. Again, a child’s birth certificate would not be amended if a Court Order is made.

If you would like further assistance with either a Deed Poll name change or an application to Court for a Specific Issue Order then please contact us and one of our experienced solicitors will be happy to provide further advice. 

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