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Can I Change My Daughter's Surname?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 7 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Name Change Child Parental

Q.

My daughter has my surname as her biological father and I weren't married and split when I was a few weeks pregnant. I'm now having my second child and my partner and I are getting married soon. Can I change my daughter's surname to that of my partner?

(L.G, 29 September 2008)

A.

A person with parental responsibility for a child can change the child’s name without any special procedure simply by calling the child by the new name. It is not necessary to change the name by Deed Poll. As the child’s mother, you automatically have Parental Responsibility. However, anyone else with parental responsibility will also have to agree to the Change Of Name. Whether or not you would need the consent of your daughter’s biological father will depend on certain factors.

The biological father of a child may have parental responsibility if he:

  • Was married to the mother when the child was born
  • Was registered on the birth certificate as the child’s father - for births registered from 1 December 2003 onwards
  • Subsequently marries the child’s mother and /or enters into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother
  • Re-register’s the child’s birth so that he is named as the father
  • Gets a court order which gives him parental responsibility for the child

In some cases, a father without parental responsibility could get a court order overturning a change of name if the court decides that the name change is not in the child’s best interest. If objections are raised to the proposed change of name, you could apply for a court order approving the new name.

For a child under 16 years of age, the name can be changed without the child’s permission. However, a child who objects to a change of name could apply for a court order reversing the change. The court would take into account the child’s maturity and understanding of the situation, and any adverse impact it thinks the change could have on the child’s wellbeing.

Proving a Change of Name

For everyday life it is sufficient simply to tell people that you wish the child to be known by a new name. However, for some official functions – such as applying for a passport – something more official may be required. An alternative to changing the name by Deed Poll is to get a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration is a formal document, on which your signature must be witnessed by a solicitor, which could be used to state officially that the child’s name has been changed.

Re- registering the Birth to Show the Change of Name

A name entered on a birth certificate cannot be changed on the original certificate unless it was spelled incorrectly. To record a change of name the birth must be re-registered. However, a birth can only be re-registered to show the name of the biological father or of the child’s adoptive parents.

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[Add a Comment]
Mindie - Your Question:
I remarried last year my new partner and have two sons from a previous marriage. I have joint PR with my ex husband with the boys and he pays maintenance and sees them here and there when it suits - basically I provide access 50% of the yearly weekends and extra dates here and there when requested - sadly his parents utilise his access more than him but it’s important I feel they maintain a relationship with them so left the weekends in place ( the boys enjoy it) My youngest ( age 9)wants to change his surname to his step dads but I’m not sure that his biological family are going to approve. how do I stand ?

Our Response:
You will need the consent of his father to change your son's surname. It might be worth talking to the father about this and discussing the possibility of perhaps a double-barrelled alternative? (i.e Using both surnames)
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:04 PM
I remarried last year my new partner and have two sons from a previous marriage. I have joint PR with my ex husband with the boys and he pays maintenance and sees them here and there when it suits - basically I provide access 50% of the yearly weekends and extra dates here and there when requested - sadly his parents utilise his access more than him but it’s important I feel they maintain a relationship with them so left the weekends in place ( the boys enjoy it) My youngest ( age 9)wants to change his surname to his step dads but I’m not sure that his biological family are going to approve .... how do I stand ?
Mindie - 7-Jan-18 @ 7:07 PM
geoff - Your Question:
My 12yr old step daughter asked me and her mum when are we getting married last-night and she wants my surname can any one help.i have been part of her life for 8 years and she calls me dad her biological father doesn't care owes ££££ in maintenance and for the 1st 2yrs of her life he was abusive, aggressive drugs and drink kept vanishing for days and weeks partying. she has seen him on and off for years a day here a day there but has had no contact now for 18 months+ she said she doesn't want anything to do with him now. can any one please advise on what to do next/implications? thanks

Our Response:
If the biological father won't consent, you will need to apply for a court order to change the name. This costs £215 but you can get help with payment if you're on a low income/benefits.
LawAndParents - 2-Jan-18 @ 2:05 PM
my 12yr old step daughter asked me and her mum when are we getting married last-night and she wants my surname can any one help. i have been part of her life for 8 years and she calls me dad her biological father doesn't care owes ££££ in maintenance and for the 1st 2yrs of her life he was abusive, aggressive drugs and drink kept vanishing for days and weeks partying. she has seen him on and off for years a day here a day there but has had no contact now for 18 months+ she said she doesn't want anything to do with him now. can any one please advise on what to do next/implications? thanks
geoff - 24-Dec-17 @ 10:22 AM
Kelly - Your Question:
Hi, my daughter is 6 years old and I always had a lot of problems with her dad, now he has agreed and said he wants to remove his surname from my daughter's name and "stop being her dad" (his words to her) ?? as I change CSA as collet. Can I remove his surname? What can I Do? He keeps emotionally blackmailing us putting my baby girl and me in so much stress as am pregnant with his second child :/.

Our Response:
A name can be changed by deedpoll with the father's consent. It will not affect CSA payments
LawAndParents - 7-Nov-17 @ 9:50 AM
Hi, my daughter is 6 years old and I always had a lot of problems with her dad, now he has agreed and said he wants to remove his surname from my daughter's name and "stop being her dad" (his words to her) ?? as I change CSA as collet. Can i remove his surname? What can I Do? He keeps emotionally blackmailing us putting my baby girl and me in so much stress as am pregnant with his second child :/.
Kelly - 31-Oct-17 @ 10:07 PM
cat - Your Question:
Hi my daughter has just turned two,her biological father wants nothing to do with her because l was just a bit of fun according to him, he pays maintenance and thats it, hes not down on her birth certificate because l didn't think he was her father do l have to change her surname to his or can l leave it the way it is?

Our Response:
No, if you entered her name on the birth certificate and it's been that way for two years, you do not have to change the surname.
LawAndParents - 20-Oct-17 @ 3:26 PM
Hi my daughter has just turned two,her biological father wants nothing to do with her because l was just a bit of fun according to him, he pays maintenance and thats it, hes not down on her birth certificate because l didn't think he was her father do l have to change her surname to his or can l leave it the way it is?
cat - 18-Oct-17 @ 4:57 PM
My daughter is 21 this year and is considering changing her surname to my new married one. Her farthers name is on her birth certificate but we left when she was 5 years old and he has never bothered with her. How does shr stand legally and what does she have to do to change it. Many thanks
Minty - 29-Apr-17 @ 1:48 PM
I'm 15 years old and 6months. My biological dad and mom broke up 5/6 years ago,my dad was rarely there when I was younger he was always out drinking and with other women, he has always favouritised my older brother who is currently 18. I also found out as a baby before I we born he wanted to have me aborted for a number of weeks before my mom turned round an said with or without him she would have me! 12 months ago we had an argument, his girlfriend who also treated me unequally compared to my brother and purposely pushed me out was also present, he stood shouting, swearing and even raised his hand to me in temper but did not actually hit me. This broke out into more shouting and swearing and in fear I called my mom and my great nan picked up straight away, ever since then I have gone no where near him or any of them and had no contact. After not having any contact with him for 12 months I have decided I want to change my last name to my mum and step dads last name. Is this possible with only my moms permission??
Naii - 2-Jan-17 @ 4:12 PM
I'm 15 years old and 6months. My biological dad and mom broke up 5/6 years ago,my dad was rarely there when I was younger he was always out drinking and with other women, he has always favouritised my older brother who is currently 18. I also found out as a baby before I we born he wanted to have me aborted for a number of weeks before my mom turned round an said with or without him she would have me! 12 months ago we had an argument, his girlfriend who also treated me unequally compared to my brother and purposely pushed me out was also present, he stood shouting, swearing and even raised his hand to me in temper but did not actually hit me. This broke out into more shouting and swearing and in fear I called my mom and my great nan picked up straight away, ever since then I have gone no where near him or any of them and had no contact. After not having any contact with him for 12 months I have decided I want to change my last name to my mum and step dads last name. Is this possible with only my moms permission??
Naii - 2-Jan-17 @ 1:50 PM
My daughter has not seen or had any communicationwith her father (his choice) since July 2014.Do I need his consent to change her name as he won't communicate at all and does he still have parental rights considering he turned his back on her? Doesn't want to see her or communicate with her.
Mashy - 29-Nov-16 @ 9:23 PM
I would like to change the surname of my son.We have been together long time but now split up.He has been on the birth certificate however I would like to change his surname and move on.What is the procedure?
me - 20-Nov-16 @ 8:35 PM
My daughter is 1 yr both myself and her dads name are on the birth cert altho she has my surname at present. Her dad and I are now gettin married how do I change her surname to her dads.
jj - 17-Nov-16 @ 7:31 PM
Mazza- Your Question:
My daughter has my surname and not her fathers , we broke up 6 years ago ,I've had another baby I get remarried soon , my daughter wants my new married name the same as her sister so she's not the odd one out , As she has my name do I still need consent from her father?

Our Response:
Yes you will need consent from the father or in his absence a court order.
LawAndParents - 17-Nov-16 @ 11:38 AM
My daughter has my surname and not her fathers , we broke up 6 years ago ,I've had another babyI get remarried soon, my daughter wants my new married name the same as her sister so she's not the odd one out , As she has my name do I still need consent from her father?
Mazza - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:53 AM
Rich man- Your Question:
My ex partner has moved house n move our son to new nursery n is refusing to tell me I do have parental responseablity how can I find out we're my child is ?

Our Response:
You have parental responsibility if you are the natural parent of the child and if you're the father, your name is on the birth certificate. A someone with PR, you have the right to a say in important decisions like where your child goes to school.
LawAndParents - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:22 PM
My ex partner has moved house n move our son to new nursery n is refusing to tell me I do have parental responseablity how can I find out we're my child is ?
Rich man - 12-Nov-16 @ 4:46 PM
c - Your Question:
Can I change my daughters last name it was a mistake putting her so called father on it seen her twice in six months do I have the right

Our Response:
If she has the name of her biological father and he has parental responsibility then you will need to obtain his consent before changing the name.
LawAndParents - 11-Oct-16 @ 2:34 PM
Can I change my daughters last name it was a mistake putting her so called father on it seen her twice in six months do I have the right
c - 10-Oct-16 @ 8:20 PM
Hi my ex is telling me he is leaving r daughter with his partner while he works which means she will only see him when he picks her up from school for an hr an when he drops her off at school in the morning i am not happy about this as my daughter only met her an started stayin there last wk an i havent a clue about her only that she has her own child 3 days a wk which makes me worriedhas he got the right to do this as he is not listening to anythink I say in the matter it's his way or no way i have battled with him for wks over him taking r daughter to meet her as he kept telling me it wasn't serious an kept running bk to me for a yr an he just took her without my permission last wk to stay in a new house in a room on her own an Met a new person all at once which I think is far to much for a 5 yr to deal with also I didn't have a clue where my child was stayin either he is very threating towards me an i just don't know what i stand
sweety - 23-Sep-16 @ 9:33 AM
Hi, My daughters have gone to tjere fathers for a week I've just found out he is working for that full week,but in the court order it states that he! Has to be there with them and not at work. What can I do,he isn't answering calls and has turned his phone off. Can I phone the police or can I go to the house of who is Loki g after them and take them back
Rachael - 29-Aug-16 @ 3:25 PM
Bee - Your Question:
My daughter has not seen her biological father from birth for 9yrs ,is it possible to change her surname without her dad consent.

Our Response:
If you cannot get consent you will need to apply to the courts for a court order (form C100) for a specific issue order.
LawAndParents - 8-Apr-16 @ 12:33 PM
My daughter has not seen her biological father from birth for 9yrs ,is it possible to change her surname without her dad consent.
Bee - 7-Apr-16 @ 8:16 AM
Hi my daughter'snot seen her father for nearly 5 years nowshe is 9 she wants to change her surname?is this possible without getting the father involved please?
caz - 23-Mar-16 @ 8:47 PM
Hi. My 8 month old daughter hasmine and my ex partners surnames, he is on the birth certificate but hasn't had any contact with her since she was 3 weeks old, would I be able to take his surname off without his permission, if I cant now would I be able to do it in the future if he's still not in contact with her.
laura - 17-Mar-16 @ 1:56 PM
My 11 year old son has been asking us if he can change his name by deed poll when me and my partner get married in two years. His biological father hasn't seen Him or his 7 year old brother for nearly a year now and wants nothing to do with them. Can I legally get their names changed in two years if they have no contact at all with them?
Becmumma - 12-Mar-16 @ 10:10 PM
Hi, my husband's ex wife has double barrelled his childen's surnames without his consent; placing her name second and without a hyphen so that his surname gets dropped. She has registered them at the schools, doctors etc with the double barrelled name. My question is what can my husband do about it, where does he stand legally? He pays child maintainance every month (not via CSA) and sees the kids at least once a month (usually every other weekend). Are there any letter templates that he can use to clearly and succinctly point out that what she has done is illegal and request that she changes the children's surnames back to their original name before taking her to court? (Trying to resolve at the lowest level first). Also should he contact the school, doctors etc to highlight that they are not using the children's correct surname? Thanks in advance.
CD - 5-Mar-16 @ 10:18 AM
chocolatefingers- Your Question:
Hi my partner ex partner wants to change her daughters name to her new married partners he hasn't seen the daughter in three years even though he wants to his name is on the birth certificate but she has her mums surname can she change her name through dead poll without his consent thanks

Our Response:
No she will need the consent of the father. The mother might claim that the father has no contact or cannot be traced, so it might be worth his formally recording that fact that he wants contact with his daughter (via a mediation service or the courts).
LawAndParents - 5-Feb-16 @ 2:35 PM
hi my partner ex partner wants to change her daughters name to her new married partners he hasn't seen the daughter in three years even though he wants to his name is on the birth certificate but she has her mums surname can she change her name through dead poll without his consent thanks
chocolatefingers - 4-Feb-16 @ 9:34 PM
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