Home > Legal > Changing Your Child's Surname

Changing Your Child's Surname

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 10 Dec 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.

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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Khug - Your Question:
My son is 7 soon, from my previous relationship, I've since married and had another son. He's sees his dad and step mum 2 times a week, I can talk to his step mum about most things we regularly go out together to she's more of a Friend, his dad. well its strained since he attacked my now husband.My son has recently started crying that he's different from us, it break my heart, he asks why can't his little brother me and his step dad have a name like him, I've explained as best I can why they have different names and why I do and his step dad does. It actually makes him worse :,( This has been going on for a month Now, every day he asks if he has step dad's name yet. I've asked him out right do you really want it and he's pretty addimant that it's what he wants, he gets literally hysterical about it. So I thought I could add on my new surname to his, double barrel?? But I have a feeling his dad is going to be difficult and have no idea how I even address this with him, any advice? I really want to keep this out of court because I feel it will tarnish the already strained coparenting we have going. He used to be so amicable we both were but the past year has been hellish with him.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If your son is genuinely upset, then you should either attempt to speak to his dad about the matter, and if you cannot agree between you, request he attends mediation. Perhaps, you could take the emphasis from yourself and say to his dad that it is no attempt to usurp his parenthood, but it is at the request of your son. Most courts would allow a change of name if it fits in with family uniformity. 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. Hopefully it won't come to this and mutual negotiation may help. However, if your ex dislikes your current partner, he may quite obviously object. Reminding him, that it is not about the adults, but your child may help. In addition, you can use your name unofficially i.e in school etc without your ex's permission.
SeparatedDads - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:33 PM
My son is 7 soon, from my previous relationship, I've since married and had another son. He's sees his dad and step mum 2 times a week, I can talk to his step mum about most things we regularly go out together to she's more of a Friend, his dad... well its strained since he attacked my now husband. My son has recently started crying that he's different from us, it break my heart, he asks why can't his little brother me and his step dad have a name like him, I've explained as best I can why they have different names and why I do and his step dad does. It actually makes him worse :,( This has been going on for a month Now, every day he asks if he has step dad's name yet. I've asked him out right do you really want it and he's pretty addimant that it's what he wants, he gets literally hysterical about it. So I thought I could add on my new surname to his, double barrel?? But I have a feeling his dad is going to be difficult and have no idea how I even address this with him, any advice? I really want to keep this out of court because I feel it will tarnish the already strained coparenting we have going. He used to be so amicable we both were but the past year has been hellish with him.
Khug - 15-Oct-17 @ 9:49 AM
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 his family but nothing sorting out . We don't receive any money never had . Where do I stand thank you
E - 16-Sep-17 @ 7:27 PM
Mum2071 - Your Question:
Hi my daughter has just turned 8 she has had my surname since birth but her father recently got married and is going on wanting her name changed to match his and his new family. He has brainwashed our daughter into thinking she wants this too but I don't want to change. I'm not sure what to do in this situation thanks

Our Response:
If your child is living with the father, then it stands to reason the father might want family uniformity. You can see more via the Deed Poll link here. However, if you have parental responsibility of your child, your ex has to request your permission to change your child's name. If you refuse, he would have to apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 5-Sep-17 @ 3:12 PM
Hi my daughter has just turned 8 she has had my surname since birth but her father recently got married and is going on wanting her name changed to match his and his new family. He has brainwashed our daughter into thinking she wants this too but I don't want to change. I'm not sure what to do in this situation thanks
Mum2071 - 3-Sep-17 @ 9:14 PM
So my son is 2 next month and starting nursery. When we registered him his dad came to the register but our son was put into my name due complications with our relationship ship and I thort it was just for the easiest. We have everything sorted and he has been a mayjor part in my child's life for the last 2 years and we are now engaged we are looking to changing my sons name to his dads. Preferably before he starts nurserys to prevent confusion. How do I do this? Will it change his birth cirtificate or have a deep poll? Help please?
MummyB - 12-Aug-17 @ 6:18 PM
Tosh - Your Question:
So what your advice please need to know asap as need a desistion now my son says he just wants Thurston his step dad name am I been selfish and not letting it happen as I know he is mine and that don't change anything I just hate the fact that my name has to be taken out should I do it does that make me a bad dad if I let it happen and fight for my name would that feel like I don't love him enough In letting it happen

Our Response:
We cannot make a decision on your behalf. However, much depends upon what your son wants and what YOU think is in his best interests. If you can remove your personal feelings from the equation, this will help. If you wished to challenge your son's mother's decision, then you would have to apply through court to try to prevent it. This would cost financially as well as emotionally. A name is just a name, your son will always be your son. While emotionally, it may be difficult for you to accept this, in the greater scheme of things it does not detract upon the loving relationship you can continue to have with your son. It is understandable that while he is a child, he may wish to appear in school to have exactly the same name as his brother. If he has a slightly different name, his school friends will always question this and this is perhaps what he doesn't want. There is no saying that when he is older, he might wish to change it back. I'm sure you'll feel better in yourself if you let him change his name with your blessing and at the same time reassure him that his relationship with you will stay the same. Another option is to ask your son's mother to keep the double-barelled name on the birth certificate, and use whatever name he chooses for the purposes of his GP and school. The school should allow this.
SeparatedDads - 10-Aug-17 @ 9:51 AM
My name his on birth certificate from birth but if his name changes from calum David horn my name too calum David Thurston his step dad will my name be taken off my the birth certificate or does it have to be double barrel or not or dosent that matter could it still be my name still on birth certificate and still name change
Tosh - 8-Aug-17 @ 4:02 PM
So what your advice please need to know asap as need a desistion now my son says he just wants Thurston his step dad name am I been selfish and not letting it happen as I know he is mine and that don't change anythingI just hate the fact that my name has to be taken out should I do it does that make me a bad dad if I let it happen and fight for my name would that feel like I don't love him enough In letting it happen
Tosh - 8-Aug-17 @ 3:54 PM
Tosh - Your Question:
My ex wants my son name changed to her now married name but to take my name out what power then does she have to do if she wanted too and my son new step dad does he have more power then me and if he had parent responsibility does that give him more right then me if my name stays in as a double barrel so it will be calum David horn Thurston ( horn is my name and Thurston hos step dad ) will they still use my name at school as he wants Thurston to be like his brother how does that work and what about birth certificate if my name is not on the birth certificate does thSt mean I can't do stuff like holiday or bank account savings for him

Our Response:
A name change does not mean your son's stepdad will have any further rights and neither does it give him parental responsibility rights. If your name is not on your son's birth certificate, then you can apply to court for parental responsibility, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 8-Aug-17 @ 3:34 PM
My ex wants my son name changed to her now married name but to take my name out what power then does she have to do if she wanted too and my son new step dad does he have more power then me and if he had parent responsibility does that give him more right then me if my name stays in as a double barrel will they still use my name at school as he wants Thurston to be like his brother how does that work and what about birth certificate if my name is not on the birth certificate does thSt mean I can't do stuff like holiday or bank account savings for him
Tosh - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:22 PM
Paul - Your Question:
My ex partner changed my son's name through court order with my consent first I knew of this was when I received a letter saying g I was no longer legally responsible for him ? 3 years letter have received a letter from child maintenance for payments as she has contacted them! What is the situition regarding this?

Our Response:
If you are the biological father of your child, then you are by law responsible for helping to financially support him.
SeparatedDads - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:50 PM
K - Your Question:
Hi. I've been dealing with an absent father of my first son since he was born. I was never married to this guy but he is on my sons birth certificate. My son goes by my husbands surname and only knows him as his father since day one. How can I convince the school to let my baby go by what his name really is and being changed to before showing any documents. I don't think it's right for the school to want to have my son confused as to what his last name is. It's not right to put a child through that when he's been through enough already. Is there anyway to get them to at least hyphenate it until his name is changed to everyone else's name in my household? Please help!

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have requested the school changes his name already. If the school is refusing that you change his name 'unofficially' to your preferred surname, you may ask a solicitor to write the school a letter requesting a name change on the basis of 'family uniformity'.
SeparatedDads - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:35 PM
My ex partner changed my son's name through court order with my consent first I knew of this was when I received a letter saying g I was no longer legally responsiblefor him ? 3 years letter have received a letter from child maintenance for paymentsas she has contacted them! What is the situition regarding this?
Paul - 2-Aug-17 @ 7:59 AM
Hi. I've been dealing with an absent father of my first son since he was born. I was never married to this guy but he is on my sons birth certificate. My son goes by my husbands surname and only knows him as his father since day one. How can I convince the school to let my baby go by what his name really is and being changed to before showing any documents. I don't think it's right for the school to want to have my son confused as to what his last name is. It's not right to put a child through that when he's been through enough already. Is there anyway to get them to at least hyphenate it until his name is changed to everyone else's name in my household? Please help!
K - 2-Aug-17 @ 4:51 AM
Daz - Your Question:
HiI have full parental response ability.Was married to ex.Son has a know as name with her new partner. I've not given consent for this.My son is moving to secondary school Sept. Can they keep this surname or will it go back to my surname?

Our Response:
If your son's name was changed unofficially and he is moving school, it is likely the name he is using currently would be transferred over to the new school.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi I have full parental response ability. Was married to ex. Son has a know as name withher new partner. I've not given consent for this. My son is moving to secondary school Sept. Can they keep this surname or will it go back to my surname?
Daz - 9-Jul-17 @ 11:20 PM
Hi can my ex wife change her daughters name to my name even though she is not my child and my ex wife has kept my surname
Myers - 7-Jul-17 @ 1:54 PM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.