Slater and Gordon’s family law solicitors can assist with all child law matters, including change of name issues for your child or children.
When a relationship breaks down, change of surname issues can arise. Our family solicitors can help to make this process as simple and stress-free as possible, and make sure that your change of name needs are met. With our assistance, you and your family can move forward with your lives.
One or both parents may also want to legally change their child’s name because:
For expert legal advice or to speak with a child name change specialist, call us on freephone 0808 175 8000. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - so whenever you need expert legal advice, our team will be there to help. Alternatively, you can contact us online and let us know when’s most convenient to call you.
When a family’s circumstances change, it’s not uncommon for parents to want those changes to be legally recognised. When a parent remarries, our specialist solicitors are sometimes asked if a child’s surname can be changed to recognise the new family composition. Examples of this kind of change include adding a stepparent’s surname to the existing one, or using it in place of the existing surname.
Whether a child’s name can be changed, and who must consent to any name change, depends on a number of factors.
In many cases, obtaining consent to change a child’s name is essential. If a child’s name is changed without the consent of everybody with Parental Responsibility - a legal status derived from the Children Act 1989 - a court can, and often will, reverse the change. A court might also make an order for costs against the parent who tried to change the child’s surname without permission in the first place.
It’s therefore vital to seek expert legal advice before attempts are made to change a child’s name.
If you’ve any questions about child name change laws or need to know how best to proceed, Slater and Gordon can help. Take advantage of the extensive expertise of our family law solicitors and call freephone on 0808 175 8000 for an initial consultation.
Where parents disagree about whether a child’s name should be changed, an application may be made to the court. The type of application will depend on who’s making it. The parent wishing to change a child's name can apply for a Specific Issue Order. If a parents opposing the name change, they’ll apply for a Prohibited Steps Order.
Regardless of which application brings the question before the court, the approach is the same. There’s clear guidance in previous decisions concerning when a court will and will not consider that it’s in a child’s interests for his or her name to be changed. It’s sensible to discuss the guidance from these cases with a specialist child law solicitor before embarking on a name change application.
Where parents agree to a change of name, it’s always sensible to record this agreement in a formal document called a Change of Name Deed. While it's no longer necessary under child name change law to record the change centrally (which was the thinking behind the old Deed Poll process), government departments will still want proof of any name change made. This is especially important where identification documents such as passports are concerned. A Change of Name Deed can also be shown to government agencies as proof of the name change.
As for what is and isn’t permitted under child name change laws, there are certain crucial points to remember. For example, there are restrictions on names that are impossible to pronounce or that include punctuation, marks, numbers or symbols. Offensive names or those that infer a rank, title or honour (unless these are factually accurate) may also be rejected.
For more detailed information on child name change law, please read our legal advice guide to Change of Name, which you can download and print if you wish.
Slater and Gordon have the largest team of family lawyers in the UK and can provide immediate legal representation wherever you’re based. We offer both flexible pricing and fixed fees for child name change and for all our family law services. This means that you know exactly what you’ll be paying from the outset, so there’ll never be any unexpected bills or unpleasant surprises when it comes to costs.
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Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the largest and best-known law firms in the country, with offices throughout the UK. Wherever you live and whatever the situation, we can help.