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Changing a child’s surname – What’s involved?

To change a child’s surname in England or Wales, the parent wishing to change the child’s name needs to obtain consent from all the people who have Parental Responsibility over the child. If consent is not obtained, the Court has the right to reverse the change.

If everyone is in agreement, it’s usually a straightforward process, however things get difficult if this is not the case. When parents disagree, the parent who wants to make the name change can apply for a Specific Issues Order and the parent who doesn’t want the change can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order.

If the case does go to Court, the Court will make the decision based on whether the change of name is in the child’s best interests.

Before changing a child’s name, if the child is old enough to understand, you should discuss it with them first and find out their opinion because for instance if they break up from school for summer with one name and return in September with a different one, it’s going to have a knock on effect for the child having to explain themselves to peers when the new teacher calls out the register.

Also note that before you change your child’s name from that on their birth certificate, it’ll mean a lot more documentation that the child will need to provide in later life when applying for passports and driving licences etc. just to prove who they are.

Family lawyers at Slater and Gordon offer specialist, clear legal advice to parents in matters relating to children. To speak to a family lawyer contact us here and we’ll be happy to help.

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