Change of name of a child
Change of name of a child

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Change of name of a child
  • Children's surnames at registration
  • Change of a child's surname
  • The principles to be applied
  • Procedure—application to change a child's surname
  • Refusal to order name change
  • Name change permitted
  • Change of name by deed poll
  • Change of child's forename
  • Home Office guidance on use and change of names

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance has been issued, including by the President of the Family Division, regarding all proceedings in the Family Court in England and Wales during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and until further notice, which profoundly affects normal practice, including requirements for the majority of family hearings to be dealt with remotely. For details about the changes to court processes and procedures during this time, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID–19)—news and resources for family lawyers. In addition, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit provides easy access to news, practical guidance and Q&As from across a number of Practice Areas (subject to subscription). This Practice Note sets out the procedure prior to the pandemic and during this period of disruption to the justice system, practitioners should be aware that local practice may vary.

Children's surnames at registration

A child's birth must be registered within 42 days of birth. It is the duty of the mother and father of the child to register the child’s birth.

The surname entered on the register is the surname by which at the date of registration it is intended that the child shall be known.

The register cannot itself be amended to record a subsequent change of surname. However, a child's surname can be changed subsequently by deed poll or, informally, by the use of a different name.

An unmarried father cannot prevent the mother choosing the name

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