Home > Legal > Can My Ex Change My Children's Names?

Can My Ex Change My Children's Names?

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 3 May 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Mike - Your Question:
After divorcing my ex has re married my son is 11 born before we married he has my surname but now she's started using her new name after his surname I pay and have my son and have done since divorce 5 yrs ago I wasn't even consulted and she now withholding my son to b spiteful we have a great bond and I'm worried this will upset him he's all I have left from my 10 yrs with his mum who cheated and I had no option than toleave our hom and my son it broke me I have and now she's expecting me to roll over again and I can't my son's my life !! Advice please

Our Response:
Your ex cannot change your son's name officially by Deed Poll without your consent, please see link here . However, she can change your son's name unofficially for the likes of school or GP etc. If your ex is withholding access, you can see more via the link here , which will tell you the process you have to go through in order to have access reinstated. Plus, the link regarding mediation here , which you would have to suggest to your ex before a court application would be allowed.
SeparatedDads - 13-Feb-18 @ 11:06 AM
Mate let her change the name means nothing .if It bothers you that much get (solicitor )maybe you need to (let go ).my ex done the same and she cheated on me all the time and calls and tells me that my daughter step daddy is better then me out of (spite ha ha ).its the gamesmanship of separating .dont read into it .get a (blood solicitor).
Chris - 13-Feb-18 @ 6:06 AM
After divorcing my ex hasre married my son is 11 born before we married he has mysurname but now she's started using her new name after his surname I pay and have my son and have done since divorce 5 yrs ago I wasn't even consulted and she now withholding my son to b spiteful we have a great bond and I'm worried this will upset him he's all I have left from my 10 yrs with his mum who cheated andI had no option than toleave our hom andmy son it broke me I have and now she's expecting me to roll over again and I can't my son's my life !! Advice please
Mike - 12-Feb-18 @ 3:38 PM
Stuart - Your Question:
Hi guys, I recently found out my sons mother has changed his surname on his medical records after our divorce. I have PR and pay maint. and have him 2 days a week. I have refused any request made by her to give permission for a name change. My question is, is she allowed to do this as its a legal document (i believe), I am awRe that she can use the "known as" option in most cases but shes just changed his name out right at his doctors.ThankStuart

Our Response:
Your ex can change the name of your child unofficially i.e through her GP, school etc, so that the new name becomes your child's 'known as' name. However, she cannot change the name by Deed Poll without your consent.
SeparatedDads - 28-Nov-17 @ 12:42 PM
Hi guys, i recently found out my sons mother has changed his surname on his medical records after our divorce. I have PR and pay maint. and have him 2 days a week. I have refused any request made by her to give permission for a name change... My question is, is she allowed to do this as its a legal document (i believe), i am awRe that she can use the "known as" option in most cases but shes just changed his name out right at his doctors. Thank Stuart
Stuart - 27-Nov-17 @ 12:35 PM
Hi, i have PR, have me daughter at least two nights a week and my daughter has my surname on her birth certificate but her mother has changed her surname to match hers at school. The school did not contact me or anything, it has been like this for three years now as i thought i could not do anything about it and to be honest I was scared that if i did say anything then my ex would deny me access to my daughter. I have no idea what i can do about this without compromising my time with my daughter
dad87 - 25-Nov-17 @ 1:16 PM
My sons father is trying to have our sons name changed. He does not have parental responsibility but is on his birth certificate. My son was born in 2002 before the law changed and we were unmarried. My son has his fathers last name and he wants this removed. He has not seen our son in a year and is trying to do this to avoid child maintenance which he is not paid for two years. He says he is issuing legal papers. He has been threatening towards me and my son telling him to kill himself. He has sent threatening messages to our friends and family as well as me and my son. We have reported this to the police. He is now contacting people to obtain my address and contact details including my work. Can he sue me for not changing my sons name?
Nett - 31-Oct-17 @ 10:38 AM
Norma - Your Question:
I have no PR and my ex changed my daughters surname to her new partners and has now gone and got her a passport and had her new name registered at school. I didn't see my daughter for s couple of years but am seeing her every weekend now what can I do about her surname change

Our Response:
If you have no PR, there is little you can do to challenge the surname change as your child's mother is within her rights. Many children have different names from their fathers, but this does not change the fact that biologically your child is still your child and you are still your child's father.
SeparatedDads - 30-Oct-17 @ 10:51 AM
I have no PR and my ex changed my daughters surname to her new partners and has now gone and got her a passport and had her new name registered at school....... I didn't see my daughter for s couple of years but am seeing her every weekend now what can I do about her surname change
Norma - 29-Oct-17 @ 4:34 PM
Jen - Your Question:
Hello, my child’s father used an alias surname (found out on police records) on the child’s birth certificate. I didn’t know it wasn’t his real name. Could I go to court and get the child’s surname changed? Is that fair enough legally?

Our Response:
Yes, you would be able to apply to have your child's name changed and you would be successful if the child's fraudulently father used an another name, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 23-Oct-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hello, my child’s father used an alias surname (found out on police records) on the child’s birth certificate.I didn’t know it wasn’t his real name.Could I go to court and get the child’s surname changed? Is that fair enough legally?
Jen - 22-Oct-17 @ 8:41 PM
Rosie96 - Your Question:
Hi guys- I have received a letter from my ex partner (my sons dad) from the solicitors saying that he will only allow the name change if I cancel CSA so he doesn't have to pay for him. He has nothing at all to do with him and he also got my son on a child protection plan for violence whilst I was pregnant- the letter he has sent says if he agrees to the name change that I am liable for all his court costs etc if I take it to court and that I "have to" cancel CSA payments and I'm not allowed to talk to people about why Dexter is on a child protection plan- surely this isn't right- can anybody advice me on what to do next?

Our Response:
All non-resident parents are by law required to financially support their children regardless. A legally qualified solicitor would not send such a letter, which in this case would be deemed as bribery. I would question the legitimacy of this letter, as it has no legal foundation or grounds and is quite possibly fraudulent.
SeparatedDads - 16-Oct-17 @ 11:30 AM
Hi guys- I have received a letter from my ex partner (my sons dad) from the solicitors saying that he will only allow the name change if I cancel CSA so he doesn't have to pay for him. He has nothing at all to do with him and he also got my son on a child protection plan for violence whilst I was pregnant- the letter he has sent says if he agrees to the name change that I am liable for all his court costs etc if I take it to court and that I "have to" cancel CSA payments and I'm not allowed to talk to people about why Dexter is on a child protection plan- surely this isn't right- can anybody advice me on what to do next?
Rosie96 - 15-Oct-17 @ 10:54 AM
Loki - Your Question:
If I agree to my ex changing my sons last name do I loose my legal rights as I am on the birth certificate

Our Response:
You will not lose your parental responsibility rights if you allow your child's mother to change his name. You are still his legal father by birth whatever name he goes under.
SeparatedDads - 26-Sep-17 @ 12:14 PM
If I agree to my ex changing my sons last name do I loose my legal rights as I am on the birth certificate
Loki - 25-Sep-17 @ 7:47 PM
Benj - Your Question:
Hello, I have recently been informed by my child's grandmother that they have changed my child's second name without my permission via deed poll. I am on the birth certificate and the child has my last name. Can I file criminal charges as this is techniqually fraud? I really don't know where to go with this! Thanks in advance!

Our Response:
You can see more via the DeedPoll link here which should answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 10-Aug-17 @ 11:57 AM
Hello, I have recently been informed by my child's grandmother that they have changed my child's second name without my permission via deed poll. I am on the birth certificate and the child has my last name. Can I file criminal charges as this is techniqually fraud? I really don't know where to go with this! Thanks in advance!
Benj - 9-Aug-17 @ 8:02 AM
Martin. - Your Question:
Hi my ex partner not only didnt tell me when my son was born but purposely registered our son and named him without my agreeing so that I have no perental resposibility to him, what steps can I take in regards to getting his name changed and me put on his birth certificate ?

Our Response:
You can apply for parental responsibility through the courts if your ex will not agree. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 24-Jul-17 @ 4:08 PM
Hi my ex partner not only didnt tell me when my son was born but purposely registered our son and named him without my agreeing so that i have no perental resposibility to him, what steps can i take in regards to getting his name changed and me put on his birth certificate ?
Martin. - 23-Jul-17 @ 5:30 PM
Rob - Your Question:
I have recently been to court and won parental responsibility of my 7 and 10 year old children (I wasn't on their birth certs) the mother changed their surnames by deed poll to her partners surname, the same as their new baby and changed herself and older child, this was done without informing me because I didn't have PR before, and their previous names were her maiden name, what chance have I got to change them to mine? Or even back to their original names?

Our Response:
Family uniformity is considered important. If the whole family has the same surname it is highly unlikely a court would force your ex to change your children's names again.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:36 PM
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