CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD’S NAME

Can I change my child’s name?

Yes, you can but you must ensure that you have obtained consent from anyone with parental responsibility (legal rights) for your child. In the UK, the mother automatically assumes parental responsibility when the child is born.

The law regarding parental responsibility in relation to the father varies slightly throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so please see below for more information. Alternatively, please scroll down this page to view our helpful ‘parental responsibility flowcharts’.

Births registered in England & Wales:

The father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother upon the child’s birth. If the father is not married to the mother then he will only have parental responsibility if he is named on the birth certificate from 1st December 2003.

Births registered in Northern Ireland:

The father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother upon the child’s birth. If the father is not married to the mother then he will only have parental responsibility if he is named on the birth certificate from 15th April 2002.

Births registered in Scotland:

The father will have parental responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, or subsequently married her afterwards. An un-married father will not have parental responsibility unless he is named on the birth certificate from 4th May 2006 onwards..

Notes:

  • If either parent is deceased then sole parental responsibility will pass to the sole living parent.
  • If there is a court order giving someone else parental responsibility then their consent must also be obtained.
  • If both parents have parental responsibility for the child, but permission cannot be obtained from one of them i.e. because they refuse to consent, or because their whereabouts are unknown, then you will need to apply for a Specific Issue court order. This is required, in the absence of the other parent’s consent, to make the change legally binding (official).

Parental Responsibility Flowcharts

These helpful charts will determine who has parental responsibility for your child.

NOTE: If both parents have parental responsibility, but consent from one parent i.e. the mother or father cannot be obtained, then learn how to apply for a Specific Issue court order – and download the relevant court form (C100). This is required, in the absence of the other parent’s consent, to make the change legally binding (official).

England and Wales(Births Registered in)

Northern Ireland (Births Registered in)

Scotland (Births Registered in)

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