Can I change my child’s name?
Everyone with parental responsibility must provide their consent to changing a child’s name.
Who has parental responsibility?
Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.
Both parents will have parental responsibility if they were married at or after the date of the child’s birth.
Both parents will have parental responsibility if they are named on the child’s birth certificate.
If the father is not named on the child’s birth certificate and does not have a Parental Responsibility Order or a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement, the father will not have parental responsibility.
What do I do if I do not have the other parent’s consent?
You will need to make an application to Court for a Specific Issue Order. The Court will give notice of a hearing to the other parent and they will be entitled to attend the hearing put forward their case. It will be up to the Judge to make a decision based on the facts of the case, having heard both parties’ evidence. Unless there is very good reason to do so, the Court is unlikely to change a child’s name. If a child is approaching 16, their wishes and feelings might well be taken into account.
What if I do not know where the other parent is?
The Court will need to be convinced that all reasonable attempts have been made to locate the other parent because the Court must know whether or not consent is given. The Court can order the DWP (or other formal organisation) to disclose the other parent’s address to the Court if the necessary application is made.
How soon can my child change their name without the need for Court proceedings?
Your child can change their name once they reach the age of 16 without needing the consent of either parent.
You can read more on changing names by deed poll on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll.
Contact any of our Family Solicitors at THP for more information.