Q&As

A mother wishes to change a child’s forename. The father does not have parental responsibility but has been involved with the child. Can the mother change the child’s name without the father’s consent and can she change a forename only?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 04/01/2019

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A mother wishes to change a child’s forename. The father does not have parental responsibility but has been involved with the child. Can the mother change the child’s name without the father’s consent and can she change a forename only?

A parent may change a child’s forename by enrolling the new name with the Royal Courts of Justice and lodging a notice with the London Gazette. The appropriate forms can be found here, and the fee is £36. Completed forms should be sent to the Queen’s Bench Division (Queen’s Bench Division, Enforcement Section, Room E15, The Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL). If both parents have parental responsibility then both will need to sign the change of forename form and have their signatures witnessed, or if a parent who has parental responsibility does not consent to the change of forename then the other parent will need to apply to the court for an order allowing the name to be changed. If, as in the scenario of this Q&A, only one parent has parental responsibility for the child, then the situation is more complicated.

Technically it appears that in this scenario the mother may change the forename (and indeed the surname) of the child without needing to obtain the consent of the father if he does not hold parental respons

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