All people who have Parental Responsibility must consent to the change of name even if the parents are separated, divorced or have further re-married or even where the father has no contact with the child.
If the child is over 16 years of age however the people with Parental Responsibility are not required to consent and the child can arrange his or her own Change of Name Deed.
Where only the mother has Parental Responsibility she has a right and power lawfully to change the name of her children.
Nevertheless the Court recognises a child’s links with its father as being important and there have been a number of cases which illustrate that fathers without Parental Responsibility have been able to reverse a change of their child’s name. It is therefore good practice, if at all possible, to obtain the father’s consent in any event.
In any other situation a Court Order is required for permission to change the name, i.e. where the absent father with Parental Responsibility has no contact with the child. The Court’s decision must be in the child’s interest and account is taken of the degree of commitment by the absent father and the views of the child (where appropriate).
You should be aware that schools, GPs and other bodies cannot amend records in respect of child’s name without enquiry to check consent has been given by all other people with Parental Responsibility or an Order of the Court.
You should get confirmation from all people with Parental Responsibility that they agree to consent to a change of their child’s name. You should then provide their full names and addresses. We can prepare the Change of Name Deed for execution by you and arrange for it to be endorsed with the signed consent of all others with Parental Responsibility.
Where consent is not forthcoming you must apply to the court with a statement indicating why you believe it is in the child’s interest to change their name and what endeavours you have made to get the person with Parental Responsibility’s consent.
> Return to main Children Matters page
St Stephens House
Tel: +44 (0)845-2171377
Tel: +44 (0)1753-850915
Fax: +44 (0)844-4438982