Home > Legal > Changing Your Child's Surname

Changing Your Child's Surname

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 24 Mar 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.

** NEW** Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

The Separated Dads Forum is a place where you can discuss relevant issues and concerns including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or just have a general chat with other dads.

Please help us launch it and make it a great resource for dads going through difficult times. We hope to see you on the Forum soon....

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Can my x change my daughter's surname while am in jail without my consent
kuch - 18-Nov-16 @ 10:28 PM
@kevo - I know this - she change the surname unofficially through school/GP etc without having your consent. Or if you say no to her changing it through deed poll and she doesn't have any contact with you she would have to apply through the court. C.
Charls89 - 17-Nov-16 @ 9:57 AM
Am in jail and my x has remarried,does she has regal rights to change my daughter's surname without my consent
kevo - 16-Nov-16 @ 12:33 AM
Chits - Your Question:
My ex wants to change my child's surname but I have refused and I am on the birth certificate but we were not married. She says she has changed it at the school as she don't need my permission to do this. How do I stand legally when contacting the school to inform them I'm not happy with this and I want it put back to her actual surname? Can I make them do this? My ex has done this without my consent and I have contact with the school and am on all her school documentation.

Our Response:
While you can refuse permission for your ex to change your child's surname by Deed Poll, you have no specific rights if your ex wishes to change your child's surname informally. You would have to seek legal advice if you wanted to try to prevent this through court, but it doesn't mean the court would necessarily rule in your favour.
SeparatedDads - 30-Sep-16 @ 11:42 AM
My ex wants to change my child's surname but I have refused and I am on the birth certificate but we were not married. She says she has changed it at the school as she don't need my permission to do this. How do I stand legally when contacting the school to inform them I'm not happy with this and I want it put back to her actual surname? Can I make them do this? My ex has done this without my consent and I have contact with the school and am on all her school documentation.
Chits - 29-Sep-16 @ 2:35 PM
i apply to change my mothers surname to my father's surname on April this year n i only got one sms saying my request is accepted n still i never got my ID back.How many months does it takes to be ready?
Mazandy - 21-Sep-16 @ 2:51 PM
Gw - Your Question:
Hi,would like to know.I got married to my wife and she got two sons on her side.My problem is that they are still young and we would like to change there surnames cause they don't know their father.Me and my wife don't want the children to ask questions when they get older why they have a different surname.Can you plz help.

Our Response:
Your wife would have to ask consent from her ex (if he is contactable). If he isn't and there is no way of being able to find him to request consent, then your wife would be able to apply through the courts and the court would make a decision based upon what it thought was in her childrens' best interests. If your wife can contact her ex and he refuses, then she would have the option to take the matter to court and the court would make the decision.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-16 @ 10:12 AM
Hi,would like to know.I got married to my wife and she got two sons on her side.My problem is that they are still young and we would like to change there surnames cause they don't know their father....Me and my wife don't want the children to ask questions when they get older why they have a different surname.Can you plz help......
Gw - 12-Sep-16 @ 6:37 AM
Me and my partner have been together since 2008. And living together since. We have another child with my surname and I have another son also with my surname. My partners ex has not had contact ever nor his family and I mean not attempted too. He makes small £30.00 payments every month if hisworking. He now wants to have the same surname as his brother and sister. His birth certificate is Spanish as this is where he was born and his real dad left before he was ever born. I don't know if as he has a Spanish certificate if the law is the same in terms of changing? If not what do I need to do as he is asking more and I believe starting to affect him
Curt79 - 2-Sep-16 @ 8:16 PM
Hi there please can you offer some advice? My son wishes to change his surname to my name, currently it is double barrelled with his fathers who is on the Birth certificate, his dad has not had contact in over 6 years and I do not know where he is, contact was suspended by the family court and he was not showing up to contact and was using drugs and was in prison ... Yet again!! If I change is name via a court order do you think I would be successful? My son is 12 and very capable and he has requested this change? Also how long does it take? Will I have to go to court? Will they try and locate his dad?
Macey - 26-Aug-16 @ 6:16 PM
Hi! I need your advise and what requirements do i need to process? I am a mother of a 4year old girl. She carried the family of her father, even we are not married he carried thru his consent before coz his giving support to our daughter from birth till 1year old. We allowed to carry his family name thru his consent and his valid id's and power of attoryney's requirements. When he go back to syria almost 3 yrs he never send any supports and he cannot come back anymore coz he get married and the situation of syria is very worst. Now i have fiance from USA. We will get married by next year. I want before our married she can carrymy fiance's family name. My fiance decided to adopt her so she can feel she's part of the family and if she start studying there she will not encounter bullying. What do i need to prepare for adopting my child with my new husband to be. We are not yet married and we are engaged here in dubai. Coz now his processing my fiance's visa. What requirements do we need to bring before we can file and process? How much do it cost? How many months it will take?We need your answers as we decide to go home in Philippines by december. Thank you and God bless us all
Lyn - 21-Aug-16 @ 12:23 PM
My child has my stepdad surname because the father don't want any thing to do with the child. I've met a new guy when my child was 5months old. This guy is the only father that my child knows. After 3 years my stepdad still doesn't want to let me change my child's surname to this guy's surname. We will be married soon. Can someone please give me advice.
mariska - 11-Aug-16 @ 8:10 PM
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.