When parents divorce or dissolve a civil partnership and perhaps remarry it is not unusual for the resident parent to wish to change their children’s family name either to their own – or to the family name of their new partner to help unify the new family members and make official documents like passports less complicated.
Children’s names are changed by Deed Poll – and children over the age of 16 must apply to the court to change their own names.
Children may also wish to change their family name if parents separate – but before this can happen, it is necessary for the non-resident parent to agree to the name change if they have Parental Responsibility.
If the legal father named on a child’s birth certificate is not the biological father, it will be necessary to submit proof of this to change a child’s name without the legal father’s permission.
In cases where permission from a parent with Parental Responsibility is needed, unless this is obtained, a court may reverse any change of name.
If agreement cannot be reached between parents, the following options are available:
If parents are unable to agree on a name change for a child, it is possible to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order, in which case the court will examine the details of the case and make a decision.
If the resident parent has decided to change the family name of a child without the agreement of a non-resident parent with Parental Responsibility, it is possible to challenge this in court by applying for a Prohibitive Steps Order. The family court will examine the details of the case and make a decision in the best interests of the child.
Once parents do reach agreement on changing a child’s name, this can be formalised using a Change of Name Deed, which acts as proof of the name change for official purposes.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers advise parents to get in touch as soon as possible if they are planning to change the name of their child – or are in dispute over a name change involving a child. Duncan Lewis can negotiate a resolution without resorting to costly court hearings – and can also advise on alternatives to court action, including Family Mediation.
In cases where agreement cannot be reached between a couple, Duncan Lewis can arrange Family Mediation to help both parties work through the issues and reach a solution, without recourse to the courts.
The courts will always take into account the welfare of the child so working through any differences within lawyer supported Family Mediation can help avoid traumatic court action.
Both parents can appoint their own Duncan Lewis child care lawyer to give independent legal advice at every stage of the mediation process – Duncan Lewis’ own Mediators include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any issues involving changing a child’s name.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child matter involving changing a child’s name.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who are in dispute over a specific issue such as changing a child’s name – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent further dispute and/or legal costs mounting up.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including a child name change – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.