Rogers & Norton News

Can I change my child’s name…?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Before your child is a year old it is possible to change their first name by attending at your general register office.  However after this period you can only change their name by Change of Name Deed or Statutory Declaration, executed by everyone with Parental Responsibility.

Parental Responsibility is defined as ‘the rights, duties, powers and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child.’

A mother acquires Parental Responsibility upon a child’s birth.  A father automatically acquires Parental Responsibility if he is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or if he subsequently marries the mother. An unmarried father acquires PR if he is named, or becomes named, on the birth certificate from 1st December 2003, by a Residence Order or further Order by the Court in favour of the father.

If your child was born prior to 1st December 2003, and your name is registered on the birth certificate, but you are unmarried, you do not automatically acquire Parental Responsibility. 

In circumstances where you do not have the consent of everybody with Parental Responsibility you will not be able to change a child’s name without an order of the Court.  Such orders will only usually be given in exceptional circumstances and in cases where the father has regular contact with their child highly unlikely. 

Further, in cases where the Mother has sole Parental Responsibility – whilst she may execute a Change of Name Deed, a Father who maintains regular contact with their child may apply for an Order to reverse it.  Therefore it is always best for parents to consult with each other before changing a child’s name.

Should you have any further questions concerning this topic please contact Kerry Rowell or on 01603 675666 or matrimonial@rogers-norton.co.uk. Kerry can advise on or prepare your Change of Name Deed or Statutory Declaration.