Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

Family law

Change of Name

The family lawyer team at Prettys, with offices in Chelmsford and Ipswich, can advise you on what’s involved in changing your name.

Can I change my name?

You may change any name if you are over 18 by Change of Name Deed.

Can I change my child’s name?

You may change your child’s first, middle or surname but legally you need to have permission from all persons who have parental responsibility.  Only one parent needs to sign the documentation for children under 16.  If child is 16 or 17, the child can countersign the document alongside the parent.

I can’t find my ex-partner; can I change my child’s name anyway?

You should have the other parent’s written agreement to change the child’s name if they have parental responsibility.  You do not need it if s/he does not have parental responsibility. You are not practically prevented from changing your child’s name without the other parent’s permission, but do be aware that if the other parent has parental responsibility s/he could apply to court for the name to be changed back.  In those circumstances, the court will consider which name is in the child’s best interests.  If you and your ex-partner disagree, consider our Talking Works discussive approach to trying to resolve this matter and avoid court.

What if I cannot find my ex-partner?

Similar to above, you are not practically prevented from changing your child’s name without their permission, but do be aware that the other parent could later apply to court to try and have the name changed back.  If s/he has been absent from the child’s life for some time this may be difficult for that absent parent to achieve.  The difficulty in not being able to contact your ex-partner is that the Passport Agency or DVLA could refuse to issue documentation in the child’s new name unless you have a court Order in which a judge consents to the change of name.  In this respect you may have to make an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order to have the child’s name changed.

Does not having the other parent’s consent cause problems?

The Passport Agency particularly has strict rules about what it will accept. The Passport Agency can demand proof in writing of the other parent’s consent to the change.  The rules have become stricter in recent years and the Passport Agency can refuse to issue a passport in the child’s new name if they are not satisfied that consent was sought or given.  In these circumstances the child may have to wait until 18 to get a passport in their new name.

Are there any restrictions on what I call myself?

None at all, provided the name is not offensive or intended to be fraudulent.

What should I do next?

For legal advice on changing your name or your child’s name, or any other aspect of family law, Contact the Family Team at Prettys in Ipswich or Chelmsford on 01473 232121. If you need to speak to a family lawyer, you can also request a call back here or e-mail us here.

 

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