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

The following Family guidance 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
  • 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

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 of the child for the purposes of the register but, in the event of disagreement he may issue an application for a specific issue order under the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989).

Change of a child's surname

It is an automatic condition of all child arrangements orders (CAO) which regulate the living arrangements of a child that no person may cause the child to be known by a new surname without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or leave of the court.

In Dawson v Wearmouth the House of Lords laid down the principle that a court should not make an order to change a child's surname unless there is some evidence that it would lead