A child's name can be changed without following any legal procedure, as long as there is no deception or fraud involved. A parent may decide to change a child's surname following separation or divorce. It is rarer for a child's forename to be changed, but it does happen. A child under the age of 16 does not need to give their consent for their name to be changed.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Consent from all parties with parental responsibility for the child
Obtain consent from all necessary parties. All those with parental responsibility for the child are required to give their consent to the name change. A mother acquires parental responsibility as soon as she gives birth to a child. If she is (or was, at the the time of the child's birth) married to the child's father, he has automatic parental responsibility. If the father is named on the child's birth certificate, he also has parental responsibility, provided the birth was registered on or after 1 December 2003 in England and Wales; on or after 4 May 2006 in Scotland; and on or after 15 April 2002 in Northern Ireland. Otherwise, the father does not have parental responsibility unless he has obtained it through agreement with the mother or by a court order, and the mother can change the child's name without his consent.
Start using the child's new name. Tell family and friends about the name change and notify all necessary parties, such as the child's school, doctor and dentist.
Obtain evidence of the name change if you want to obtain a new passport for your child. The Identity and Passport Service requires a statutory declaration, a change of name deed and a re-registered birth certificate, plus one of the following: a letter of consent to the change of name from everyone with parental responsibility; a court order permitting the change of name; or a statutory declaration confirming all those with parental responsibility have consented to the change (unless there is a court order in force in which case only written consent is acceptable).
Changing a child's name
Tips and warnings
- A child or young person under 16 can object to a change of name and apply for a court order to stop the change, however the court must be satisfied the child has an adequate understanding of the situation.
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