Can I change my child's name without the other parent’s consent?


Changing your child’s last name can have a number of consequences. A last name symbolises the physical cutting off of a potential parental figure in their lives. Having a father or mother’s last name is a biological link to your child’s past and a decision like this should not be taken lightly. Knowing your legal position is essential and will minimise any disruptions to your child.

How can I change my child's name?

You can use Deed Poll to change your child’s name. A Deed Poll is a legal document stating the surrender of your child’s surname.

You will need the consent of your ex-partner or a court order before you can change your child's name.

If you do not know where the other parent is, then you will need to support your Deed Poll application with a letter stating that you have taken reasonable steps to contact them. Also include the time period that they have been absent from your child's life.

The only way to guarantee that the Deed Poll will be effective and cannot be reversed is if you get a court order giving you permission to do so. This court order will also guarantee that your child's school, doctor and the passport office will use their new name.

What happens if I change my child's name without the other parent's consent?

If the other parent has no parental responsibility, but maintains regular contact then they may be able to reverse the name change. The courts will often consider the importance of your child maintaining a link with both parents.

The courts will also take into account the amount and quality of contact that is being maintained between your child and the other parent. If your ex-partner tends to have your child for around 2-3 days a week and is actively involved in their welfare and upbringing, then they will most likely be able to reverse a name change.

If the other parent does not have a relationship with your child, it is unlikely that they will be able to reverse your child’s name change.

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