Do I Need a Court Order to Change My Childs Name?

You may have found yourself asking, how can I change my child's surname? When parents disagree on a name change or where one parents consent is not forthcoming it may be necessary to apply for a court order to change your child's name. It is important to first consider alternatives to applying for a court order.

Applying for a court order is a long winded and stressful and should not unduly be used in the name change process. Before granting any order or entertaining any application the court will first require that you have tried to reach an amicable agreement with the other parent. Where you are unable to make contact with the other parent you should be able to demonstrate that you have made reasonable efforts to contact them.

Before applying for a court order you should take into consideration;

  • The likelihood of the court granting the order

  • The cost and time involved in applying for a court order

  • The associated stress and impact on family life

If you are considering applying for an order of the court, you should contact a Solicitor to discuss the process. As we all know, Solicitors are not renowned for their cost effectivity and this is a key factor in instructing representation. It is possible to make the application on your own of course.

Types of court orders to change a name

Making the correct application is essential. Most parents need to apply for an SIO or Specific Issue Order in order for the court to grant permission to change a child's name. This isn't a steadfast rule and their are other occasions whereby alternative orders are required. We accept all orders granted by the courts.

You may also apply for a Specific Issue Order that removes the parental responsibility of the non respondent parent. This is an extreme step as it will permanently deprive the other parent of their parental responsibility. It is generally appropriate in cases where the parent has abused the child or they have been imprisoned for violent or sexual crimes. You should take legal advice if you intend on pursuing such an order.

Changing a Childs Surname

The court system is averse to granting orders resulting in the change of surname of a child, because;

  • It is in the long term interest and welfare of the child for them to be known and addressed by their original birth name.

  • A surname is deemed to be an important link to the father and as such a key part of a child's identity and self.

  • Having a different surname to ones family is no longer deemed to be taboo - the court will not place a great deal of weight on applications made to have a child name change to match that of their siblings.

The court will always act in the best interest of the child. Their must be clear and demonstrable reasons why changing a child's name is in their best interest. Short term issues, such as convenience will not be given any weight.

The court will take the child's views into consideration when deliberating on the application. The weight given to the child's wishes is heavily dependant on age and maturity with older and more mature children being given more input into the process.

Double-barrelled surnames

The process for double-barrelling a child's name surname is much easier. If the child already has one parents name, the other parents surname can be added without the need for a court order.

Changing a Childs First Name

As with a change of surname, the court will only grant an order permitting a parent to change a child's first name where it considers it to be in the best interest of the child.

Unlike with surnames, the court is more relaxed when it comes to granting orders allowing parents to change their childs first name. A forename does not have the same paternal link as a surname and so is deemed to be less impactful on the family dynamic when changed.

It is important to note that where both parents agree on the Childs change of name, no court order is required. Both parents can consent to a change of name by deed poll in the usual way.

Taking the next step...

The UK Deed Poll Service is the UK's biggest and best deed poll specialist. We have produced over a million change of name declarations and certified copies, for hundreds of thousands of customers. Our staff are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helping our clients negotiate the name change process and providing free impartial advice. Whether you choose to apply for a deed poll with ourselves or not, feel free to contact us using the online chat function should you have any questions or concerns.

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The name change process is quick and simple. Apply online in minutes using our easy to navigate digital application and receive your Official Deed Poll Change of Name Declaration in two days.