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Changing Your Child's Surname

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 21 Apr 2018 |
 
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.

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]
The wayI see it when my x got another man he job to rasie her not mine .i am old school and not weak new age .my x cheated all the time her hubby can have that .and my daughter well it’s your mothers job not mine .plus I think your father is a roofer and I have never been a roofer .i am just the sucker named as father bc and if your mother wants to change it you have my blessing .c w laurie.ps your mother I don’t like and will never be put in a situation like that again .she can have my uncle he wants her bad and never seen the (fuss )everyone made over my x .maybe because see was so easy to bed or they can’t pull others I don’t no .
Sam321 - 20-Apr-18 @ 11:50 PM
I am just writing to my x .i cut contact years ago and never fought for rights .i am just writingto vent and pretending she will read this one day wink ?i want my surname removed and new hubby can adopt her .after my x put me though the ringer nearly jailed me .yeah her hubby can have all that and me daughter .i just respect my x enough that she didn’t want money after all my family and other where having there way with her .i feel it’s for the best anyway .thanks .c w laurie.
Sam - 20-Apr-18 @ 11:26 PM
Hi My daughters dad cut all contact via his wife nearly 18 months ago and hasn’t made contact since. She no longer wants to go by his name and I do not know where he is. Can I change her name via deed poll? Thanks
Ajay87 - 20-Apr-18 @ 10:07 PM
taz123 - Your Question:
Can my daughter name be change if not on birth certificate

Our Response:
If you are not registered on the birth certificate as the father, then the resident parent can choose to change your child's name without having to ask for your consent.
SeparatedDads - 20-Apr-18 @ 10:46 AM
Can my daughter name be change if not on birth certificate
taz123 - 19-Apr-18 @ 7:40 PM
Chazza - Your Question:
Hi can someone help me please ? Can I change my son's name to my surname ? He is 4 year old he says his surname name same as mine. But on his birth certificate is his father's name. They have the same name he hasn't seen his father for 2 1/2 years. I have a court order he's not allowed near me cause of domestic violence. I have also signed child protection orders that he can't see the child incase he hurts him. So he decided to take me to court to see his son. I keep asking my solicitor can I change his surname but he's not very helpful. Thank you ??

Our Response:
A child's legal name can easily be changed by Deed Poll providing everyone with parental responsibility (PR) for the child consents to the name change, please see more information via the link here. If your ex doesn't consent, then as as the article explains you would have to apply to court. If you do not wish to take the matter to court, you can change your child's name unofficially by allowing him to go under a new name via your son's school and GP. However, his passport and other official documentation would remain under his original name until it was changed via Deedpoll.
SeparatedDads - 16-Apr-18 @ 12:41 PM
Hi can someone help me please ? Can I change my son's name to my surname ? He is 4 year old he says his surname name same as mine. But on his birth certificate is his father's name. They have the same name he hasn't seen his father for 2 1/2 years. I have a court order he's not allowed near me cause of domestic violence. I have also signed child protection orders that he can't see the child incase he hurts him. So he decided to take me to court to see his son. I keep asking my solicitor can i change his surname but he's not very helpful. Thank you ??
Chazza - 14-Apr-18 @ 5:24 PM
Craig- Your Question:
I've recently split from my partner we have a son of 5 together who has my partners last name , I wish to change my sons name to my last name my partner had agreed how do I go about things from here ?? Any help would be appreciated thx

Our Response:
If your partner has parental responsibility, then you would have to request his consent. You can see more via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 23-Mar-18 @ 9:22 AM
I've recently split from my partner we have a son of 5 together who has my partners last name , I wish to change my sons name to my last name my partner had agreed how do I go about things from here ?? Any help would be appreciated thx
Craig - 22-Mar-18 @ 12:31 PM
Cassie - Your Question:
My daughter is 3 and I have been lived with her dad, he’s on the birth certificate but I want to add my surname after he’s and he’s said no so could I just change it with out his permission or can I add my name by deed poll, thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the DeedPoll link here, which should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:03 PM
My daughter is 3 and I’ve not lived with her dad, she has his last name but I want to add my last name after his but he’s said no, do I need permission to do this or can I just change it so she has the same surname as myself and her brother I had from a previous partner thanks
Cassie - 17-Mar-18 @ 8:57 PM
My daughter is 3 and I have been lived with her dad, he’s on the birth certificate but I want to add my surname after he’s and he’s said no so could I just change it with out his permission or can I add my name by deed poll, thanks
Cassie - 17-Mar-18 @ 8:50 PM
Jimbob - Your Question:
I’ve just found out that my ex partner has changed my daughters name officially by deed poll without my consent, I’m named on her birth certificate, have parental responsibility, full active involvement in her life, we see each other all the time, and I willingly pay maintenance for her care. What are my options to get this action reversed?

Our Response:
You would have to apply directly to court. However, as a rule, the other parent with parental responsibility has to be consulted and asked permission of first before Deed Poll will consent to this, please see link here. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. So it doesn't mean the court will naturally reverse the process. Another angle to consider is whether your ex has changed your child's name unofficially i.e through school, GP etc, which your ex can do if she chooses without going through official channels.
SeparatedDads - 19-Feb-18 @ 12:41 PM
I’ve just found out that my ex partner has changed my daughters name officially by deed poll without my consent, I’m named on her birth certificate, have parental responsibility, full active involvement in her life, we see each other all the time, and I willingly pay maintenance for her care. What are my options to get this action reversed?
Jimbob - 18-Feb-18 @ 8:18 PM
Khulet - Your Question:
My eldest child which is 8 years old now have his fathers surname, and we have been separated since my child is born. I have my own family now im married for 2 years and my eX boyfriend who is my eldest biological father have his own family as well how can I change my sons surname to my husband surname now?? Do I need to ask for my eX's permission?i hope you can help me. Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to ask your ex's permission, please see link here, which should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 15-Feb-18 @ 3:32 PM
My eldest child which is 8 years old now have his fathers surname, and we have been separated since my child is born.. I have my own family now im married for 2 years and my eX boyfriend who is my eldest biological father have his own family as well how can i change my sons surname to my husband surname now?? Do i need to ask for my eX's permission?i hope you can help me.. Thanks
Khulet - 15-Feb-18 @ 4:07 AM
Mpe - Your Question:
HiI got married and already had two kids which are not my husband's, I change my two kids surname to my husband surname and now I feel like I have made a mistake. is it possible to change my kids surname to my maiden surname?

Our Response:
If your husband does not have parental responsibility of your children, you do not have to ask his permission to change their names, you only need ask the other parent who has PR. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-18 @ 3:50 PM
Hi I got married and already had two kids which are not my husband's, I change my two kids surname to my husband surname and now I feel like I have made a mistake. is it possible to change my kids surname to my maiden surname?
Mpe - 22-Jan-18 @ 6:12 AM
Diegorolo - Your Question:
My fiance has a little 10 months boy from another father registered in the birth certificate and he doesn't agree to change the child surname. They were not married and they didn't live together with the child just for 4 months bc he was violent but he denied it when he got arrested. Now in court even if the process is for child arrangements only he admitted he was violent so I don't know if we could go further again with that proof plus a text threating the mother a couple.of months ago. They are in court for child arrangements and he stopped to pay maintainance. I am gonna marry the mother and I would like to give this kid my name, specially bc he thinks I'm the father and I'm the one maintaing him and loving him. Is there anything we could do? I think this would be very stressful for the kid when he get a bit older and start to understand.

Our Response:
If the father doesn't agree to the name change, then your fiance can either suggest mediation to her child's father and if he refuses, then she would have to apply to court for the court to make a decision what it thinks is in her child's best interests. You can see more via the link here .
SeparatedDads - 15-Jan-18 @ 9:54 AM
My fiance has a little 10 months boy from another father registered in the birth certificate and he doesn't agree to change the child surname. They were not married and they didn't live together with the child just for 4 months bc he was violent but he denied it when he got arrested. Now in court even if the process is for child arrangements only he admitted he was violent so Idon't know if we couldgo further again with that proof plus a text threating the mother a couple.of months ago. They are in court for child arrangements and he stopped to pay maintainance. I am gonna marry the mother and I would like to give this kid my name, specially bc he thinks I'm the father and I'm the one maintaing him and loving him. Is there anything we could do? I think this would be very stressful for the kid when he get a bit older and start to understand.
Diegorolo - 14-Jan-18 @ 2:36 AM
tony - Your Question:
My ex I left want change the boys surname I pay child maintenance see the boys twice a month her new husband how to change the surname to his at school can this happen

Our Response:
The resident parent of your child, can change your child's name unofficially (i.e through schools or GP etc). However, as specified in the article, if you have parental responsibility of your child, your ex would have to request your permission to change your child's name officially, please see link here for further information.
SeparatedDads - 9-Jan-18 @ 11:35 AM
my ex I left want change the boyssurnameI pay child maintenancesee the boys twice a month her new husband how to change the surname to his at school can this happen
tony - 8-Jan-18 @ 6:34 PM
@MamaE - If you are in the UK (usually births are registered after the birth, not at the time of), then you would have to ask the named father for consent. If he doesn't give it, you would have to apply to court.
MarkGG - 21-Dec-17 @ 10:20 AM
The father listed on my 4year olds birth certificate is not the father . At the time both my ex and I believed he was the father . He wanted my son to have his last name . I wanted my son to have my last name since him and I were not married . While in the hospital o had a c section and was given morphine . So the whole time I was groggy pretty much . While I was asleep he put my sons name down on paper . I woke up and was told to sign papers being a first time mother I signed it LATER realizing he put his last name and not mine. I wasn't really upset but I did have a preference of my last name . A week later my sons features started to develop and he did not look like my ex . I told him , instead he looked like my (friend at the time) since then I've never asked him for any money and favors or any father responsibilities from him . My sons biological father has been fathering him since 3weeks of birth and has been a GREAT father . I want to remove the father listed on the birth certificate and add my now husband his biological father and change my sons last name .Would I have to have my ex's consent ? Can I show my marriage license to change his last name and add biological father to the BC? Or would a DNA test be required
MamaE - 20-Dec-17 @ 4:35 AM
Skittles - Your Question:
I'm a person who as never writen down my feelings for help for advise on how to deal with my problems before. Please bear with me to try to explain my situation on how I feel and what situation I'm in for me to ask for your help???? I'm a single parent from day one when I found out I was pregnant I told the father I was pregnant On the same day He told me he was back with his exWhen I delivered Maisie he came to hospital to believe Maisie was hisMaisie was my world from this day The father saw Maisie once a week until he changed his girlfriend The father only saw Maisie when he liked we are not married and never together when Maisie was born Do I mother of Maisie have the right to change Maisie name without consent of the father???

Our Response:
If you registered your ex as the father on the birth certificate, then it means he has 'parental responsibility' in which case you would have to request his consent, please see the link here, for more advice. If he is not registered on the birth certificate, then you can change your daughter's name without his consent.
SeparatedDads - 11-Dec-17 @ 12:29 PM
I'm a person who as never writen down my feelings for help for advise on how to deal with my problems before. Please bear with me to try to explain my situation on how I feel and what situation I'm in for me to ask for your help???? I'm a single parent from day one when I found out I was pregnant I told the father I was pregnant On the same day He told me he was back with his ex When I delivered Maisie he came to hospital to believe Maisie was his Maisie was my world from this day The father saw Maisie once a week until he changed his girlfriend The father only saw Maisie when he liked we are not married and never together when Maisie was born Do I mother of Maisie have the right to change Maisie name without consent of the father???
Skittles - 9-Dec-17 @ 11:50 PM
Nat - Your Question:
I have a 4 year old. I want to change his surname to the same as mines and his brother. My child has contact with his dad. We never lived as a family for long (10 weeks) due to domestic violence. He was only given his surname as my ex threatened me. I don’t want my child to feel he’s different or excluded especially when my other child starts at the same school. Would the courts grant the name change.

Our Response:
If your ex will not consent to the name change, then you would have to apply to court. However, it is likely the court would allow this on the basis of family uniformity. Until you choose to change your son's name by Deed Poll, you can request your local GP and son's school (when he starts) allow him to use his new family name unofficially.
SeparatedDads - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:13 PM
I have a 4 year old. I want to change his surname to the same as mines and his brother.My child has contact with his dad. We never lived as a family for long (10 weeks) due to domestic violence. He was only given his surname as my ex threatened me. I don’t want my child to feel he’s different or excluded especially when my other child starts at the same school. Would the courts grant the name change.
Nat - 13-Nov-17 @ 10:28 AM
E - Your Question:
Sorry I did post this down line but never had directed reply so. Hi I have 2 children with my ex partner we was never married but lived together for 4 years. He is on the 2 childrens birth certificate but the children have my last name. Now I have been with my current partner over 6 years now we have had 2 children together. there also my last name. But we want to get married and want all children have same name. He has had no contact nothing side splitting we have had lots of abuse of himself and his family but nothing sorting out. We don't receive any money never had. Where do I stand thank you

Our Response:
You would still have to ask your children's father permission to change his chidlren's surname. If he refuses, then you would have to make a court application. If your ex only has occasional contact with his children and for the sake of 'uniformity' of name, then it is likely the court would grant permission. Please see the Deed Poll link here for more information.
SeparatedDads - 3-Nov-17 @ 11:33 AM
Sorry I did post this down line but never had directed reply so... Hi I have 2 children with my ex partner we was never married but lived together for 4 years . He is on the 2 childrens birth certificate but the children have my last name . Now I have been with my current partner over 6 years now we have had 2 children together .. there also my last name . But we want to get married and want all children have same name . He has had no contact nothing side splitting we have had lots of abuse of himself and his family but nothing sorting out . We don't receive any money never had . Where do I stand thank you
E - 2-Nov-17 @ 6:48 PM
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