The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
A child's birth must be registered within 42 days of birth.BDRA 1953, s 2
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.Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987, SI 1987/2088
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.
The duty to register the child's birth is:
both parents' where the child's parents are married
the mother's when the parents are not married
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).ChA 1989, s 8
Where one or both parents wish to change a child's surname the position varies depending on whether they are married or share parental responsibility or if there is a court order in place:
where the parents are married and they both wish to change the child's surname this can be done without a court order—it may be done simply by informal usage; there is no legal requirement to record it in a change of name deed but it is good practice to do so and some agencies, eg HM Passport Office, may require documentary evidence of the name change, see: Change of name by deed poll
where two or more people
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