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Changing Your Child's Surname

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 26 Jun 2017 |
 
Surname Child Father Mother Husband

If you are separated or divorced, there may come a time when your ex-partner wishes to change your child’s surname. It is relatively common, however, for one of the parents, usually the father, to disagree with a name change.

Reasons for Changing Your Child’s Surname

It is usually the case that your child will carry your family name, particularly if you were married. After your divorce, your ex may wish to revert back to her maiden name and she may want to change your child’s surname to match her maiden name. Alternatively, Your Ex May Meet And Marry Someone Else, adopting her new husband’s surname. Again, she may wish to change your child’s surname to match her new family name.

Understanding the Procedure

The procedure for changing your child’s surname can be carried out using a family law solicitor. But the mother must get permission from you before she can do this.

Some divorces are relatively amicable and you may not be too concerned with a change to your child’s surname. However, many fathers wish for their family name to be carried on. In these circumstances, it is your legal right to refuse a name change.

Changing Your Child’s Name Without Permission

If you refuse a name change, the mother has no right to carry it out. If she was to change the name without your consent, you can appeal to the Court. The Court will take into consideration whether the name change is necessary and whether it would be detrimental to the child to change their surname, or in some cases to not change their surname. For example, if one child in a family unit had a different surname to the rest of the family, this may be considered as detrimental to the child.

If you want to change your child’s surname, you must also seek permission from the other parent. In the case of divorced couples who have lived together for some time, a Court is unlikely to allow a name change where one parent disagrees with such change.

Unmarried Couples

If you are unmarried and have separated from a partner, but have lived as a family for some time, a Court is likely to treat you in the same way as a married couple. If you disagree with a change in name, a Court would be likely to agree that it is in the best interests of your child to keep their current name.

This differs, however, if you have not been a family unit for very long, particularly where you are not registered on your child’s birth certificate (see our article on What Rights Do I Have If I'm Not On The Birth Certificate). In many cases, a Court will allow the mother to change the child’s surname, where it would be negative for the child to have a different surname. Again, this could be the case where a mother has remarried and had another child, all carrying the surname of her new husband.

A Court may rule that it would be in the best interest for your child to also carry the same surname, so that he or she feels part of the family unit. In these circumstances, the father is in a very weak position indeed.

If your ex-partner wishes to change your child’s surname, you should talk to them, tell them how you feel, and discuss why they feel that changing the surname is the best idea. Make it clear that you do not want the name change. If this does not work, seek advice from a solicitor specialising in family law.

For more information on your rights, read our article on Separation Rights For Fathers on this site.

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[Add a Comment]
Tricky - Your Question:
Ex girlfriend changed some of my daughter birth certificate name how can I find out new name

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will help you further.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jun-17 @ 12:07 PM
Ex girlfriend changed some of my daughter birth certificate name how can I find out new name
Tricky - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:51 PM
Small - Your Question:
My ex and I we changed the kids surname to his only to find out 7 year later that my son is nt his ,so can I change my kids surname to mine cuz we were not married he only paid a bit of lobola he didn't pay it all.I want to change them to my surname

Our Response:
If the person registered on the birth certificate gives their permission, then yes you can change the surname. Please see Deed Poll link here.
SeparatedDads - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:57 PM
My ex and I we changed the kids surname to his only to find out 7 year later that my son is nt his ,so can I change my kids surname to mine cuz we were not married he only paid a bit of lobola he didn't pay it all.I want to change them to my surname
Small - 26-Jun-17 @ 7:42 AM
Hannah - Your Question:
Hey wondered if anyone can shed any light, Iv been married for 4 years and have 3 children & 1 on the way. My 2 eldest boys are from a previous partner. One of which has his biological father on his birth cert. BUT my maiden name. They are already known at school/doctors/hospital to have my marital family name. But my question is for my son who has his father on the birth cert (who has had no contact with him for 5 years) and I have no idea where in the world he is or how to contact him, can I change his name to my marital name without his father's concent? I have the same question on obtaining a passport for him too.

Our Response:
You can see more via the Deed Poll link here. If you genuinely cannot find your child's biological father and he is not traceable through CMS, then you would have to apply through court. If the biological parent is absent, then the court will decide upon what it thinks would be in the best interests of your son.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jun-17 @ 10:03 AM
Hey wondered if anyone can shed any light, Iv been married for 4 years and have 3 children & 1 on the way. My 2 eldest boys are from a previous partner. One of which has his biological father on his birth cert. BUT my maiden name. They are already known at school/doctors/hospital to have my marital family name. But my question is for my son who has his father on the birth cert(who has had no contact with him for 5 years) and I have no idea where in the world he is or how to contact him, can I change his name to my marital name without his father's concent? I have the same question on obtaining a passport for him too.
Hannah - 22-Jun-17 @ 12:36 AM
My daughter's last name is peters ...she has a sever speech disorder. Her father and I were never married. .he has seen her 3 times since 2014...she is getting made fun of not only for her speech but also beca use her last Name sounds very perverted....I talked to her father about it ... he's never around hardly ...but on..birth certificate. He says she is tough she will be okay after she fights a bunch.... uh hello ....she don't need that....what can I do of anything about getting her last name changed to mine..
Amber - 21-Apr-17 @ 3:04 PM
My sons daughter was in care when we found out about her existence. DNA proved he was the biological father and after a long court process the fathers name on the birth certificate was changed to that of my sons and a court awarded him full custody of his daughter. My granddaughters biological mother still has parental consent and has weekly contact with her. My granddaughter is now 9 and wants to change her surname from that of her mother to our family name. When I have looked at deed poll it says that the man originally named on my granddaughters birth certificate would still have parental and we would need his consent as well as the mothers to change my granddaughters surname, this would be impossible as we have no way of knowing where he is now.The biological mother has no problem with the surname change. How would we go about doing this as this is a major thing for my granddaughter. Thanks in advance
NanaKay - 13-Apr-17 @ 9:11 PM
Dan - Your Question:
Hi my partners mum changed his sur name twice while he was growing up. He originally had his fathers surname but when he and his mother divorced and she re married she changed it to her new husbands. A few years later they also divorced and she re married again and once again changed his name this time officially through the court. He is now 27 years old and expecting a child and would like to change his name back to his biological fathers how do we do this please?

Our Response:
You can apply via the Deed Poll link here. The process is quite straightforward, so he should not have any problems making the change.
SeparatedDads - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:10 AM
Hi my partners mum changed his sur name twice while he was growing up. He originally had his fathers surname but when he and his mother divorced and she re married she changed it to her new husbands. A few years later they also divorced and she re married again and once again changed his name this time officially through the court. He is now 27 years old and expecting a child and would like to change his name back to his biological fathers how do we do this please?
Dan - 11-Apr-17 @ 4:27 PM
At 16 the children can change their names. The article seems to miss this. Even under pressure.
Chuck - 7-Apr-17 @ 5:58 PM
Hiya I have an 8 year old daughter and her dad don't see her are have any contact he hasn't seen her since she was 11week old my problem is she has his surname and I did change it by depoll but the passport office said her passport has to be her dads name cos it's not a court order any help would be grate x debs
Deb - 6-Apr-17 @ 4:06 PM
My husband has a son with his ex wife and she has married an Albanian man. He is 25 and she is 49. Can she change their sons name so that his middle name is her new husbands surname without consent or does consent only apply to surnames? The fact she is changing thei sons name without asking her ex husband seems rather odd. Looking forward to your response.
Parker - 24-Mar-17 @ 10:47 PM
My daughter has twins with our last name. She was not married but the twins are now 5 years. She is now plan on getting married and her boy friend asked permission to marry her but I told him I didn't want the twins last name changed. He agreed. Now my daughter said after they get married he wants to adopt the twins. Can they still keep their last names they had when they were born as on their birth certificate?
Gary - 14-Mar-17 @ 7:10 PM
Hello...i and my husband are not living together anymore we are seprated but not divorced can i change my daughter surname to my surname ....
renu - 8-Mar-17 @ 3:18 PM
If I with my boyfriend are not married but when child will birth I would like to give my surname because I don't know about our situationin future.But if we will married in a future is it be difficult to change baby's surname to his surname?
Agulera - 4-Mar-17 @ 9:55 AM
Me & my ex have to two but his always been in & out of they lives due to New gf ect but for the past year & half he hasn't botherd only if he sees them in street. But my kids have asked if they could change they nanas back to mine as up untill 4-5years ago I put him on that birth certificates along with his last name....Big mistake I know! But could I change it back as his text n said I could.
skm - 3-Mar-17 @ 5:42 PM
Paul145 - Your Question:
Me and my sons mother are no longer together, and he has her surname. I am named on the birth certificate as the father. We are now both in separate relationships with separate children. My son has said that when his mum gets married to her new partner, his surname will change to the new partners. I have regular contact with my son, and pay his mum maintanence every month. Is she legally allowed to do this? And if it goes to court what is the likelihood of the judge ruling in her favour? Or when she gets married as he will have a different surname from both parents and both half-siblings would the ruling go in my favour to give him my surname?

Our Response:
Your ex is allowed to change your son's name informally i.e through school, doctors etc without consent. However, officially your son would still have your name on his birth certificate and passport. If your ex wishes to change your son's name via deedpoll, then she would have to request your consent. If you say no, then if she wishes to pursue the matter, she would have to take the matter to court. A court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of the child in question. Uniformity is always a consideration in cases such as this i.e if your ex takes her new husband's name and there are other children in the family with the same name, then in order to help your son feel included in the new family, the court will often allow the change. However, it is impossible to predict what a court may decide.
SeparatedDads - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:38 PM
Me and my sons mother are no longer together, and he has her surname. I am named on the birth certificate as the father. We are now both in separate relationships with separate children. My son has said that when his mum gets married to her new partner, his surname will change to the new partners. I have regular contact with my son, and pay his mum maintanence every month. Is she legally allowed to do this? And if it goes to court what is the likelihood of the judge ruling in her favour? Or when she gets married as he will have a different surname from both parents and both half-siblings would the ruling go in my favour to give him my surname?
Paul145 - 28-Feb-17 @ 9:17 PM
Mrs G - Your Question:
HI quick query my husband is the biological father of his children his wife passed away a few years ago and we have since married, his 3 boys live with us and carry their mothers maiden name even though their mother took my husbands surname when she married him, they did intend changing all 3 boys into their dads surname but did not get round to it before his late wife passed away, the problem is that my husbands name is not on the birth certificate, how do we go about changing the 3 boys names to his surname, the boys are aged 10, 14 & 16, thank you in advance?

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here . If your husband has parental responsibility (which I assume he has) then there shouldn't be an issue.
SeparatedDads - 17-Feb-17 @ 2:04 PM
HI quick query my husband is the biological father of his children his wife passed away a few years ago and we have since married, his 3 boys live with us and carry their mothers maiden name even though their mother took my husbands surname when she married him, they did intend changing all 3 boys into their dads surname but did not get round to it before his late wife passed away, the problem is that my husbands name is not on the birth certificate, how do we go about changing the 3 boys names to his surname, the boys are aged 10, 14 & 16, thank you in advance?
Mrs G - 16-Feb-17 @ 8:19 PM
hi!I just want to concern my friends decision,, her daughter from her first boyfriend is acknowledged by his father so the kid is using the last name of her father but when my friend got into another relationship her boyfriend wants to use his surname for her child without them getting married,because he said he loves the child...we are against with her decision because we believe it is not possible unless they get married first, then we just found out that she changes her child's surname and we don't know how it happen I think she do the late registration for the birth certificate of the child it means she register the child again using thelast name of his boyfriend, and we even found out that we she not use the old name of the child even in school, the child will start in scratch again.
LILMISS - 10-Feb-17 @ 7:12 AM
Hi, I have two kids with my ex. The youngest uses my surname while the eldest uses his. I tried to talk to him to change her surname to mine so she doesn't feel like she's not part of the family but he refused. What can I do?
Dmk - 25-Jan-17 @ 11:05 PM
Hi, I have two kids from the same man but the eldest has her fathers surname ,while the youngest uses my surname. We were legally married , I tried to ask him nicely to change her surname to mine he refused. Now there are two children with different surnames yet from the same man. What can I do?
Dmk - 25-Jan-17 @ 11:03 PM
Hi there. Just a quick one if anyone can advise. My 9year old sons mother is married to her new man and she tells me that my boy has to change his surname ( my family surname ) to her husbands surname so that he can get a passport so they can go on their hols abroad. Otherwise she says she'll have to take me to court for it. He is the last of my family surname and its causing quite a storm already and I just want peace for all. But he can still get a passport without changing his surname right?
DellaRossa - 21-Jan-17 @ 3:31 PM
Gretch - Your Question:
My husband has a child from another lady has never been part of the child life. Is registered as father on birth certificate. We pay child support. My husband nw wants to he mother of child to change it to her surname as things a very complicates and we not allowed to see the child or get any info of the child. Will he be allowed to get the surname changed as they where not living partners or married partners. It was just a hook up that ended in pregnancy.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely a court will force a resident parent to change their child's surname, if the resident parent doesn't wish to.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-17 @ 11:38 AM
My husband has a child from another lady has never been part of the child life. Is registered as father on birth certificate. We pay child support. My husband nw wants to he mother of child to change it to her surname as things a very complicates and we not allowed to see the child or get any info of the child. Will he be allowed to get the surname changed as they where not living partners or married partners. It was just a hook up that ended in pregnancy.
Gretch - 17-Jan-17 @ 5:21 PM
Magee - Your Question:
My child father refuses to change the surname of my child to other surname that I'm using now. I tried to talk to him he said no, now I'm stressed I don't know what to do cause my husband want my child to use his surname place help

Our Response:
As suggested in the article, if your ex refuses the change, you would have to take the matter to court. A court will always decide upon what it thinks is in your child's best interests.
SeparatedDads - 5-Dec-16 @ 2:10 PM
My child father refuses to change the surname of my child to other surnamethat I'm using now. I tried to talk to him he saidno, now I'm stressedI don'tknow what to do cause my husband want my child to use his surname place help
Magee - 5-Dec-16 @ 9:52 AM
I learnt frm fb tht my wife has remarried while am in jail,can she change my daughter's surname without my permission
kuch - 18-Nov-16 @ 10:33 PM
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