Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Helping you enforce your parental rights and obtaining parental responsibility.
If you wish to change your child’s name, you will need the consent of anyone with parental responsibility. If such consent is not given, an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order will be necessary.
There are several reasons why you might want to change your child’s name. These include situations where following a divorce or dissolution, the other parent is no longer permitted to be involved in the child’s life due to abuse or emotional harm/neglect. Similarly, there may be circumstances where you would like all of your family unit to have the same surname, or where you believe it is safer for your child to have a different surname to their biological father. Sometimes a child him/herself may wish to change their surname and indeed it might be in their best interests for this to be done. In such a situation, permission will need to be obtained either from the biological parents (if they have parental responsibility) or from the court if consent from those with parental responsibility is not forthcoming.
If those with parental responsibility for a child can agree upon a change of surname together this can be implemented by completing a change of name deed or deed poll. This will need to be sent to the court for sealing and a notice will be published in the Gazette.
Birth mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Fathers who were married to the mother at the time of the birth or unmarried fathers who are named on the birth certificate also have parental responsibility.
Once a child is aged 16, they will also need to agree to the change. From the age of 18, they are entitled to change their own name as they wish.
If the other parent or any person with parental responsibility does not consent to the change of name, then you can ask the court to grant a specific issue order changing the name.
If you are concerned that your child’s other parent will try and change their name without your consent, you can apply for a prohibited steps order preventing this from happening.
You should attempt to resolve the issue informally first, which could include going to mediation.
The court will consider the child’s wishes, any potential embarrassment to the child and whether their existing surname is important in sustaining a connection with a parent and other family members. Any decision will be made in what the court considers to be the best interests of the child.
Our family law team are experts in dealing with issues relating to parental responsibility and can advise you of your options as well as your rights. For expert advice regarding changing your child’s name, contact our team of family solicitors.
While our office is in Milton Keynes, we are experienced in working with clients throughout England and Wales, often remotely, meaning that you can expect the same expert legal advice and excellent client care wherever you are located.
If you would like to speak to one of our family law solicitors, please get in touch with our legal expert Keshini Rajendra.01908 662 277
At Heald Solicitors, our family law team understands how difficult the situation is. We are friendly and approachable, and we will make sure we provide the support you need throughout your time with us.
We have an in-depth understanding of family law and legal processes involved in all aspects of divorce, separation, children and finances and we will take the time to get to know you and your particular circumstances so that we can provide bespoke advice and guidance. We know how daunting the legal process can feel, so our aim is to demystify the legalities of your case. In situations where financial arrangements and children issues are complex, we do our utmost to prevent you from being overwhelmed by working to untangle things piece by piece.
Our team will work proactively to ensure that your case is dealt with efficiently and effectively. We will ensure that we are available to speak to you as needed to discuss progress and to answer any queries you may have.
We are based in Milton Keynes, but our leading reputation means that we also deal extensively with clients from the surrounding areas and beyond, communicating remotely where necessary.
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