We understand how difficult it can be if you want to change your child’s name and the other parent is not agreed or if you do not want to change your child’s name and oppose this application. We can assist you in these scenarios and as a start, this article provides some initial information in respect of changing your child’s name.
Please feel free to contact our office if you need any further assistance.
How is a Child’s Name Registered?
Well, the starting point is how a child’s name is officially registered.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland a birth must be registered within 42 days of the child being born. This would be done at the hospital before you are discharged or at the local register office for the area where your child is born. The chosen name would be officially registered within a document referred to as the birth certificate. This would also record the child’s date of birth and details of parents. The common information sought when registering the birth is the parents’ details (names, addresses, occupations, place/date of birth) and details of the child (name, surname, sex, place/date of birth). It is important that you also take one form of identification documentation (i.e. Passport) when you seek to register the birth.
What if Both Parents Agree to the Name Change?
Now, if both parents have parental responsibility, in the first instance, there must be an agreement in respect of the change of name. If there is an agreement, it would mean that the other parent is ‘consenting’.
If both parents are agreed, there is no set legal procedure and you could start to use the ‘new’ name. However, it would still be a good idea to have an agreement in writing. This can often prevent confusion and possible disputes at a later stage. It should also be noted that official organisations often seek documentary evidence. We could assist you by drafting a change of name deed and this would need to be signed by both parents and be witnessed.
The change of name deed poll can either be ‘enrolled’ or ‘unenrolled’. If it is ‘enrolled’ it would mean that we would follow a specific application process and have the change of name registered and placed on official public records - through the Royal Courts of Justice.
What if Both Parents Do Not Agree to the Name Change?
In such circumstances, we would initially try to reach an agreement with the other parent in order to prevent the matter escalating to formal court proceedings. If this is not possible, we would consider the specific circumstances of your case and advise you on the merits of making a formal application. If you decide to proceed with a formal application, it would mean that we would be seeking the court’s permission to change the name.
In considering such matters, the court will always consider the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration. The court has a duty to consider if no order is better than ordering a change of name.
The court would also consider other factors such as:
- What is the current surname and the reasons for change;
- The effects that the change in name will have now and in the future;
- The change in circumstances that have arisen and led to an application seeking a change of name;
- The commitment the other parent has had and the quality of the child arrangements currently in place.
If the matter is disputed, it is likely that the matter will proceed to court hearing(s) which would be attended by both parties and their representatives.
We can assist you through the entire process and support you in trying to achieve the outcome you seek. If you require assistance in this regard, you can contact us on 0161 250 7771, and we can provide you a free telephone conference and agree on a plan of action moving forward.