Changing the name of your child

Adults who wish to change their name can follow a fairly straightforward process, by deed poll or statutory declaration. But changing a child's name can be more complicated - depending on the age of the child and whether those with parental responsibility agree.

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How can a child's name be changed?

Under 16s

Children under 16 cannot formally change their name; only those with parental responsibility can change their name in one of the following ways:

  • Statutory declaration - the easiest way is to use a statutory declaration which is essentially a formal statement of intention to change one's name, which has been signed under oath in the presence of a solicitor. Most organisations will accept a statutory declaration as proof of a change of name.
  • Deed poll - this is required for official documents such as a passport or driving licence. Specific wording must be used to create a deed poll. In order to put the deed poll on public record it must be enrolled at the Royal Courts of Justice.
  • Birth certificate - in general, the child's name on their birth certificate can only be changed in order to correct a spelling mistake. Even if a name is changed by deed poll, the name on the birth certificate will remain the same, as it is considered a historical record.

16 and 17 year olds

Children who are aged at least 16 can choose to change their name in the same way as adults, by deed poll or with a Statutory Declaration of Name Change. However, only adults can put a deed poll on public record by enrolling it at the Royal Courts of Justice.

NB: Anyone can change their name informally as long as it is not for a criminal purpose.

Who needs to give permission?

All those with parental responsibility (normally the mother and father) need to give their consent to change a child's name.

16 and 17 years olds need to provide consent for their names to be changed.

What if consent is not given?

If there is a disagreement between those with parental responsibility as to a proposed change of name, it is possible to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order. However, the court would need to be persuaded that the change of name is in the child's best interests.

What happens if there is an absent parent?

If one of the parents with parental responsibility is absent, their consent will not necessarily be required to change the name of their child. However, reasonable steps should be taken to contact them by the parent seeking a change of name - and evidence of these steps may need to be provided when changing a name by deed poll. Applying to the court for a Specific Issue Order will provide protection against a later challenge.

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Create your Statutory declaration of name change

Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest