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What Is U.K. Law on Changing a Child’s Name?

The current name of a child will have been recorded since birth. You can, in some special circumstances, make changes to a child’s birth certificate. In the U.K., you can change a child’s forenames if they have been given a new one via baptism that took place no later than 12 months after the child’s birth was registered. You can only change a child’s name if you have the right under family law.

The right to change a child’s name is called “parental responsibility” in U.K. family law. Note that fathers do not automatically have parental responsibility for their child. You can seek legal advice from a family solicitor to determine if you have parental responsibility for your child, and can therefore legally change their name.

It is also possible to change a child’s surname, but only in limited circumstances. If the original record contained a spelling mistake, this can be corrected. It is also possible to change a child’s surname if their birth father’s details were not originally recorded. You can also make a change after the marriage of a child’s parents. You can then choose whether to record the mother’s or father’s surname for the child, or a combination of the two. If your child is over 16, they must give their written permission for the change to be made.

To make the changes, you need to complete the ‘Certificate of name given in Baptism’ form if your child was baptised in a church. If they were not, you then need to complete the ‘Certificate of name not given in baptism’ form. Then, send the completed form to the register office where your child’s birth was originally recorded. If you do not live in the same area, you should send the form to your nearest office.

A child’s name can also be changed via deed poll by a person with parental responsibility for the child. The name you choose must be in accordance with the regulations set out by the deed poll service. The name change must be agreed by everyone who has parental responsibility for the child. If a person doesn’t agree, an application to the court for a specific issue order can be made. Legal advice from a family lawyer should be sought before this action to ensure there is a good reason to change the child’s name.


Guest post by Contact Law. If you need advice about changing your child’s name in the U.K., or any other situation that involves the law, they can help you find a solicitor

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