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Can My Ex Change My Children's Names?

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 1 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Deed Poll Name Change Child Children

A name is central to a person’s identity. Families often have names that are passed down generations, precious markers of family connections. Fundamentally, names also help to maintain family ties over long distances and a connection to children. However, the name of your child should not become a battleground for the airing of disputes or perceived ‘ownership’ of the child. More often than not the dispute will be over the surname that the child was registered with. There are clearly defined circumstances in which a child’s name can be changed.

Can My Child's Name Be Changed?

A child’s name can be changed from the one it was initially registered on the birth certificate. There is a process that has to be followed and there are checks in place in order to ensure, so far as the court process is able, that there is consent to Change The Child’s Name.

How Can it Change?

The change will take place by Deed Poll. This is an official record of change of name. In order to make the change of name, officials need permission from both parents with parental responsibility. You have parental responsibility if you are named on the birth certificate, have a court order for parental responsibility, you married mother after the child was born, or you were married at the time of birth (see our article on Separation Rights for Fathers.)

What if I Don’t Agree?

If a change of name is not agreed, the matter can be taken to court for a judge to decide. The matter will only go before the court if permission is not given, or if a party is absent and their whereabouts are unknown. Permission to change the child’s name will only go ahead if the court considers it is in the child’s best interests. The court will consider a number of factors in making this decision, including but not limited to, any contact and commitment to the relationship between parent and child.

Can They Go Ahead Without Permission?

There are certain restricted circumstances in which they can go ahead without permission but they are very limited in scope, and the process will be by court order. These circumstances are:

  • The party is in prison for offences such as murder, or sexual offences such as rape.
  • A ‘no contact’ order has been issued.
  • The party has left home to escape from violence and/or abuse and is at risk of still being subjected to it.
  • If one party is afraid of the other and for the family and fears violence if contact is made because of past violence.

There is also the instance that a partner with parental responsibility cannot be found and you cannot obtain permission. A letter has to be written to support the application for change of name by Deed Poll outlining the reasons why consent has not been obtained. If this is not accepted, the matter will come before the court for their determination.

What If I Agree to the Change?

Then the process will be recorded as by consent and the child will become known as their new name as soon as the formalities are completed.

Remember

A child’s name is obviously important, and if you are faced with the prospect of an ex wanting to change a child’s name, it is likely to cause problems between each of the parties. However, if you disagree with the process, there is going to be the opportunity for your case to be heard. It is highly unlikely the court is not going to allow you to make representations on your side of the case. The court will decide the matter in the best interests of the child.

If you are unsure of your legal position or you are concerned that a name change is in process without your permission, seek the advice of a professional.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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And for the record .i am leaving the (past in the past)I thank your blog .and have decided (not to take legal action to see her teenage daughter ).and choose to focus on my life( I really need to ).and put this tormented , unpleasant past off mine to bed for good and (100 percent let it go it’s done and gone now no need to dwell on it ).it was bad enough living it (once )let alone on replay.the only pain I suffer now is self inflicted on negative thought off the past .but as a wise men said to me (it’s gone now brother and your ex behaviour has nothing to do with you don’t try and justify her actions she has her on agenda and (does not care one bit about you brother )spoke volumes to me .and it registered with me and he is right .
Chris - 1-Mar-19 @ 3:52 AM
There is a (mutual understanding )between the mother off my child and myself .i know exactly( who she is )and the best thing is (I don’t have to deal with it anymore )and haven’t for( 10 years now)the suffering is over and the (mental pain gone now )and come to terms with the situation.as for her daughter( I want nothing to do with her )and won’t be taking( legal action) .and if her mother thinks it’s ever going to be civil between us (think again ).the mutual understanding is (no child support for no contact)and to (never speak again for as long as I live )that deal been in place for years .the realisation is (my daughter is (gone )and there is (no bond )never will be ).the realisation is my ex was in a relationship with my (uncle and others )so I think now is (he can have her and her children )i am officially done and feel like my old self again which is good .
Chris - 28-Feb-19 @ 7:14 PM
@Taff No, there won't be an issue. But you should mention these things in child custody order of court so there won't be any problem in future.
Kriti - 28-Feb-19 @ 1:13 PM
This is to my (ex )you and change the (surname )if you want go for it .thats gods truth .and bye way hey if want to make something off my threats or call me f wit in front off my family again come do it now you (heroine junkie )new new boyfriend must not be that smart ?.hey ex how come he didn’t defend your honour when I threatened you ha ha .what you to strung out on drugs or scared off the real men ?
Sam - 25-Feb-19 @ 9:00 PM
@ryan.she can’t change your child’s name go see a solicitor mate .and the anxiety go see a doctor .i have a ex right that’s thinks I suffer from anxiety and depression why I don’t no ?.it is because my brain has (developed now I am no child anymore )and I think honestly is because (I rejected her with good reason )and never went( legal to see my child ).i have my reasons not from anxiety or depression it was because if completely honest I never wanted my (ex )or her child .and because off this everyone running around (making up accusations about me )oh there is something wrong why is there ?.there is plenty off( women out there) why would I go back to a (cheating whore) ?.and I have never been hands on dad haven’t seen her in years .i can honestly say there are millions off guys like me .
Youdontnomeloser - 25-Feb-19 @ 4:23 PM
i have been informed that my ex is taking my daughter on holiday in june and for her passport she wants to change my daughters name to hers. i was wondering do i lose any rights to my daughter at all? i am suffering from anxiety and im not sure if this is her plan to stop me from being apart of my daughters life? thank you for you time
Ryan - 25-Feb-19 @ 2:55 PM
Hi, I'm married but not been with my ex husband since Oct 2006. we got married July 2006. we had a little girl b4 we were married she passed away she is in her dad's last name.I then fell pregnant wiv our son he was born in feb 2006 we were married in July 2006. our son has my last name, my ex has been asking me to change our sons name into his I've sed no I want him ledt in my name to carry it on out of respect for my dead dad (passed away 1988 i was 6) I've been asking my ex for a divorce for ages n ages now, he has sed wud I put our sons name into his again I sed no, his mum asked me I sed no to her I asked y was it so important she sed cos wen J goes to school he will get builled for aveing a different lastname I sed no he won't cos there's loads of kids at schools that ave a different last name to their dad's. I've got another son from a previous partner he's 15 he's in my last name..mine & D's son is 13 I'm feb. the ex has sed to me he can get it changed without my consenthe sed he'd apparently spoke to a solicitor(he hasn't) my son J lives with his dad as after I lost our daughter I found it very hard to look after J so he went to live wiv D's mum n dad fora while, then me n D split up social services says our son is there on a voluntary basis so i can take our son wen I want ( I wont) I do see our son when D can be bothered to let me & answer my txts I txt him 2day on what's app asking how J was D read it but didn't answer but answered other txtsI still have PR ova our son so it's not been taken from me. I'm worried that Dhas gone behind my bk & changed our sons last name by deed poll without me knowing I dnt even know if our son has my last name at his school how can I find out ifmy son's name has been changed without my consent pls. that's all I need/want to know is how can I find out that's the bottom line.thank you
lisa - 23-Dec-18 @ 6:35 AM
Hi there I not sure where I stand on this I have 2 son's with my ex partner. And we separated over 18 months ago. And she met someone else there was a court order in place for contact. But I regretfully broke the order and didn't return my children and as I believed at the time they where at risk of emotional harm ETC they was returned to the mother as ordered through the courts. Then on the next hearing my partner made some untruthful alergations towards me. As I was a recovering addict. I lapsed but was fully honest with other professionals involved. But the judge didn't aceapt my honesty and told me untill I made changes I wasn't allowed contact with them but it was ordered that I'm allowed to contact them by letter every 2 weeks and allowed to send Xmas AND birthday presents and other small gifts but not excessive gifts.he did not strip me of my parental responsibility. And I still have my oldest son from a previous relationship live with me full time but he was abrupt and not interested in sibling contact. Now my ex is getting married and her partner wrote to me and expressed in a very abrupt manor saying that he was intending on going foward with proceedings to adopt my boys explained it was in there best interests THAT they grow up in a strong famliy unit and didn't feel different even though they are 2 and 3 and in irionsite should not understand the situation. As of yet. And it was happening weather I agreed or not. He then went on to say that if I agreed to give up my rights as there FATHER he would be open to discussions regarding future sibling contact with my boy's and there brother but for the past year they have not been intrested in any sibling contact whatsoever so I sent back a adult and diplomatic response saying that I certainly wouldn't agree to giving up my parental rights to our son's and was very disappointed that he would try blackmail me saying if I agree there proposal they would consider sibling contact however after 12 months of no electronic communications from my boys mum she has emailed saying that they aren't going for adoption but instead proceeding to change my boy's name by deedploe to her new husbands name and my consent is not needed for THIS process
Mike - 16-Dec-18 @ 6:47 AM
My brothers kids live with there mum she stopped all contact with my brother moved so he couldn't see the kids he has always payed csa for them and is on the birth certificate of both child we have now found the children but there names changed by deed poll with out his concent how can this be done if he pays for his children and can't see them due to there mother , no violent involved just a marriage breakdown x
Becks - 24-Sep-18 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, my husbands ex wife want to change their children’s name again (it’s double barrelled). She wants to change it to her and her husbands surname by Deed Poll,she has said that the children want this. They are 16 & 14.If this happens, does my husband still have to pay child maintenance?
Kaijay - 24-Sep-18 @ 11:38 AM
ConfusedDad- Your Question:
So I have been through hell and back with my ex that decided to cheat on me just before she got pregnant, I have been paying full maintenance for a while now as they have assumed parenthood on me, I have recently undergone a dna test which has come up positive but I have found out that my ex has changed my daughters surname to the name of her new husband. The only way they can do this is either deed poll or adoption. I was never told about the surname change at all and I do not have any PR due to the system taking so long in giving me a dna test etc. I now have to go through the courts before I actually get PR. is she allowed to change the name of my daughter without my consent whilst I am currently in the midst of gaining PR?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your ex is allowed to change the name of your child without consent if you are not registered on the birth certificate. Even if you had PR and you refused, then your ex would have the option to apply to court. If your ex could justify her reasons for the name change (such as family uniformity), then it is likely the court would allow this.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jul-18 @ 3:13 PM
So I have been through hell and back with my ex that decided to cheat on me just before she got pregnant, I have been paying full maintenance for a while now as they have assumed parenthood on me, I have recently undergone a dna test which has come up positive but I have found out that my ex has changed my daughters surname to the name of her new husband. The only way they can do this is either deed poll or adoption. I was never told about the surname change at all and I do not have any PR due to the system taking so long in giving me a dna test etc. I now have to go through the courts before I actually get PR. is she allowed to change the name of my daughter without my consent whilst I am currently in the midst of gaining PR?
ConfusedDad - 24-Jul-18 @ 10:10 PM
Wonder - Your Question:
My fiance owes child supprt n we pay it. One child is over 18 n one is about to be 18 when do we stop paying. Plus they live in a different state then we do and his cjildren use there stepfathers last name but he did not adopt them.

Our Response:
The laws in the US are different from English ones, therefore we couldn't advise.
SeparatedDads - 21-Jun-18 @ 3:21 PM
My fiance owes child supprt n we pay it. One child is over 18 n one is about to be 18 when do we stop paying. Plus they live in a different state then we do and his cjildren use there stepfathers last name but he did not adopt them.
Wonder - 20-Jun-18 @ 7:38 PM
My ex has a british visa we hav a child who was born in Britain. I live in zimbabwe and my ex does not respond to any communication regarding the child. Wen she comes to zimbabwe she does not inform me . Im suspecting she intends to change the last name of the child . How best can i handle this situation? How can my consent be considered before they travel outside uk?
Trigga - 19-Jun-18 @ 7:38 PM
Kittykat01 - Your Question:
Hiya,What (if anything) can we do regarding my step daughters name being unofficially changed in school by her mother? Husband has a contact order in place which states her name isn’t to be officially changed at the top. Can we contact the school regarding this matter or not and is there a way of resolving it. The child thinks her name is the one she goes by at school.Thanks

Our Response:
If the contact order states the name isn't to be changed, a letter with a copy of the order sent to the school and your husband's ex should be suffice. If neither responds, then a solicitor's letter reminding your husband's ex of the terms of the order may do. If this is ignored, your husband would have to refer the matter back to court. If your husband keeps copies, it would also show the court that he has done all he can to try to resolve this matter outside of court. The argument that might arise is that your husband's ex hasn't 'officially' changed the child's name. However, once his ex unofficially changes the child's name is gives weight to her reasoning for officially changing the name in the future (through the courts) by saying that the child has been known unofficially by the name for a period of time.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jun-18 @ 9:21 AM
Hiya, What (if anything) can we do regarding my step daughters name being unofficially changed in school by her mother? Husband has a contact order in place which states her name isn’t to be officially changed at the top. Can we contact the school regarding this matter or not and is there a way of resolving it. The child thinks her name is the one she goes by at school. Thanks
Kittykat01 - 18-Jun-18 @ 1:35 PM
My partner thinks that his ex may have changed their sons surname without his consent. Is there anyway he can check whether this is the case? Thanks
Baffled - 16-Jun-18 @ 11:43 AM
Shell- Your Question:
My partner has children from a previous relationship and is on all of his children's birth certificates. We got married a few months back and his surname is now double barrelled making it different than what was put on his children's birth certificates. Will it affect his PR? Does he have to change his name on their birth certificates? As I am worried because him and the mother of his children don't see eye to eye this will have a negative impact.

Our Response:
The fact your husband has changed his name will have no bearing on his parental responsibility. His PR will stay the same.
SeparatedDads - 31-May-18 @ 12:09 PM
My partner has children from a previous relationship and is on all of his children's birth certificates. We got married a few months back and his surname is now double barrelled making it different than what was put on his children's birth certificates. Will it affect his PR? Does he have to change his name on their birth certificates? As I am worried because him and the mother of his children don't see eye to eye this will have a negative impact.
Shell - 30-May-18 @ 12:57 AM
Tony- Your Question:
Hi my ex has had my sons surnsmr changed to hers at school. Is this allowed even know he’s under my name on birth certificate and I have accessed to him through court order at weekend ?

Our Response:
If the school allows it, then yes it is allowed. Your only recourse would be to write to the school stating that you have parental responsibility and were not consulted. Otherwise, mediation is the only other alternative you have if your ex will not discuss this directly. There may be reasons why your ex has done this i.e uniformity of names with other siblings etc, so discussing this between you is the best option.
SeparatedDads - 4-May-18 @ 10:03 AM
Hi my ex has had my sons surnsmr changed to hers at school. Is this allowed even know he’s under my name on birth certificate and I have accessed to him through court order at weekend ?
Tony - 3-May-18 @ 10:29 AM
T - Your Question:
Hi my ex has change our son surname to stepfather surname without my consent is that allowed?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your ex has changed your son via Deedpoll (in which case, as specified in the article, if you have parental responsibility she would have to have your consent) or unofficially via schools and GP. If she has changed your son's name unofficially, then there is little you can do regarding this matter. If your ex has changed your son's name via Deedpoll, then you would have to refer the matter to the courts if you wish to challenge this.
SeparatedDads - 27-Mar-18 @ 1:47 PM
Hi my ex has change our son surname to stepfather surname without my consent is that allowed?
T - 27-Mar-18 @ 6:08 AM
Grahamb35 - Your Question:
Hi my son is now 17 but I have just found out he changed his name by depol when he was 15. I have PR and was not aware. How can this happen without me being informed? What can I do about it now? I don't mind too much that he wanted to change his name and would have given my consent if asked but it just annoys me that once again my thoughts were not even considered.Graham

Our Response:
Before UK Deed Poll Service can issue a Deed Poll to change a child's name, it must be satisfied that everyone with parental responsibility for the child has consented to the name change.This means when one parent submits an application, there must also be a letter of consent signed by everyone with parental responsibility for your child. You would have to look into this matter directly if you feel your son's name been officially changed without your consent. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 15-Mar-18 @ 10:01 AM
Hi my son is now 17 but I have just found out he changed his name by depol when he was 15. I have PR and was not aware. How can this happen without me being informed? What can I do about it now? I don't mind too much that he wanted to change his name and would have given my consent if asked but it just annoys me that once again my thoughts were not even considered. Graham
Grahamb35 - 14-Mar-18 @ 12:44 PM
Taff - Your Question:
My ex wife has remarried and wants her new husband to have parental responsibility for my 15 and 13 year old sons. If I allow him too does this mean I lose my parental responsibility for them

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 8-Mar-18 @ 10:55 AM
My ex wife has remarried and wants her new husband to have parental responsibility for my 15 and 13 year old sons. If I allow him too does this mean I lose my parental responsibility for them
Taff - 7-Mar-18 @ 2:06 PM
I got a letter from my ex solicitor asking for my consent to change my daughters last name to her step daddy’s name bye de pol .i gave my consent because I haven’t seen my daughter in years .anyway .to me it wasn’t a big deal.i was told bye there solicitor that she is over the moon for her step father to officially adopt her they are apparently they are to peas in a pod .so I am stoked for them.might sound weird to some but I let go off my daughter many years ago .in the letter from solicitor i do not have to pay child support anymore her father will.so I guess everyone is happy .thanks for reading .
Laurie - 14-Feb-18 @ 10:34 PM
@Chris - yes I agree. My lad is my lad, it doesn't matter what name he goes under it's water of a duck's back to me. It's the foundation of our relationship that is important to me. He knows I'm there for him and I'm his flesh and blood. That counts more than any surname he uses.
Jules - 13-Feb-18 @ 12:33 PM
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