Do you have the right to change your child's name? – Heald Law
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Do you have the right to change your child’s name?

Can I change my child’s surname?

Yes, however there are exceptions to this. Where a child is under the age of 16, the surname of the child can be changed by Deed Poll. However, everyone with Parental Responsibility for the child must consent to this. Usually, only the mother and father of the child will have Parental Responsibility.

The Children Act 1989 states the following:
(1) Where a [child arrangements order to which subsection (4) applies] is in force with respect to a child, no person may—
(a) cause the child to be known by a new surname; or
(b) remove him from the United Kingdom; without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the leave of the court.

It is important to note that, there is no reference made to changing the first name in this section and that if a child arrangements order is already in force, the surname of the child, cannot be changed without the consent of both parties, or order of the court.
What if those with Parental Responsibility do not consent to the name change?
Where this situation arises, an application to the court must be made, for a Specific Issue Order. This can be done by using the Form C100. There is currently a £215 fee to make this application.

The court considers various factors before approving the name change and the change would have to be in the best interests of the child. Factors that are considered before approving the name change include:
– Embarrassment to the child
– The child’s wishes in relation to the name change
– The extent to which the child’s original surname is relevant to maintain connections with the parents and other family members.

Where a first name is concerned and a parent does not want to consent to the name change, they can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order to stop the other parent from changing the child’s name.

What if I cannot contact the other party with Parental Responsibility?

Reasonable steps need to be taken in order to attempt to contact the other party. It is also important to have evidence to show that reasonable steps have been taken to trace the other party.

If you would like to discuss how we could help you please call us on 01908 662277 and ask for a member of the family team.