Cohabitants—change of child's name
Cohabitants—change of child's name

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

  • Cohabitants—change of child's name
  • Change of a child's surname
  • Change of a child's forename
  • Case law
  • Procedure
  • Practical issues

Issues relating to a child's surname may arise more frequently between cohabitants, and former cohabitants, than couples who are, or have been, spouses or civil partners. Under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, the mother is responsible for registration where 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 may issue an application for a specific issue order under the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989)—see Practice Note: Procedure on an application for a specific issue order. Note that there is a requirement to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) before the issue of proceedings for an order for permission to change a child's surname, or an order under ChA 1989, s 8, unless one of the exemptions applies—see Practice Note: Non-court dispute resolution—mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs).

For a detailed consideration of the law relating to the change of a child's name, see Practice Note: Change of name of a child. This Practice Note addresses issues of particular significance to cohabitants or former cohabitants.

Specific considerations apply if a child is the subject of a care order—see Q&A: Can the court change a child's name where the child is subject to a care order?

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