Odds are that any proud parent has put a great deal of time and thought into deciding what their child will be known as.
However, there are an increasing number of parents wishing to change the name of their child, often to take into account their changed family situation – for example, to allow a child to take their stepfather’s name, or to change from their father’s name to their mother’s maiden name or vice versa.
Can I change my child’s name on their birth certificate?
Generally it’s not possible to get the name on your child’s birth certificate changed. This is because it is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of your child’s birth. It may be changed in only certain circumstances:
- If the child’s parents have married at a later date
- If the child’s name is to be changed from their mother’s surname to their father’s surname (with consent of both parties)
- If the child was given a new forename either in baptism or by regular use within the first 12 months of the birth being registered. Forename changes may only be made once in the birth register.
- If a mistake was made at the registration, an application for corrections can be made by the person who first registered the birth. Depending on the circumstances, documentary evidence may be required.
What if the other parent agrees to the change of name?
Even if it is not possible to change their birth certificate, it is possible to change the name by which your child is known on a day-to-day basis – this is known as ‘change of name by usage’.
Like adults, this can be done by a Change of Name Deed. A Deed will allow you to get all records and documents changed to your child’s new name – if you apply for something that requires sight of your child’s birth certificate (e.g. a passport) you simply enclose the Deed along with it.
However, to get your child’s name changed by Deed (if they are under 16) you will need the consent of everyone who has Parental Responsibility for your child.
What if the other parent does not agree to the change?
If both parents (or anyone else with parental responsibility) do not agree about the names by which a child is to be known, they can apply to court for the judge to decide. The judge will consider whether it is in the best interests of the child in having their name changed. Have a chat with one of our experienced family lawyers about this if you are concerned.