Changing Childs Surname

Changing a Child's Surname on a Birth Certificate

You can ask our online solicitors for advice on changing childs surname using the question box on the front of our website or the following free legal advice guide may answer your questions. 

When a child is born they will need to be officially registered and issued with a birth certificate. This certificate is a historical record which will detail the child’s full name and the names of their parents. Changing childs surname allowable only under certain conditions.

As a birth certificate is an official record, certain rules and regulations have to be observed because a child’s name and surname are part of the official birth registration. The official birth registration is considered as a historical record which contains details of the events as they transpired on the date that the registration was accomplished.

changing childs surname

Consequently, changing this historical record is allowable only under certain conditions and there are strict requirements regarding the situations when you can make amendments.

Changing a Child’s Surname

There are only specific situations when it is possible to change the surname of a child. Usually this is to correct a spelling error.

If a correction is required, the individual who registered the birth must provide proof that there has been an error. The specific procedure will depend on several factors and at what point in time the correction is requested.

Where the request for a correction was made within the first few weeks of registration, the process is relatively simple. It involves sending a letter to the original Register Office requesting the correction and outlining the circumstances which led to the error being made. The individual requesting the change must supply a reasonable explanation of why the error occurred. In some situations a longer period may have elapsed before a change request is made.

Where this happens, you will be required to provide the above as well as documentary proof to evidence that the child is being raised with a name that is different from that which was recorded in the birth registration. Proof can be provided in a number of ways including an NHS medical card, bank book or other documentation and this should be submitted along with the change request letter, sent to the Register Generals Office. Whether the change is made will be at the discretion of this office.

There are other instances when changing childs surname can be requested through a re-registration process and there are two circumstances under which this would apply. The first is to add the details of the natural father. The second is to reflect the marriage of the parents if they were not married at the time the child was born.

In both of these cases, a re-registration can take place for the child. The surname can be changed to reflect the surname of the father, the mother or both as a double barrelled surname. Both parents must be in agreement with this change. Where the child is over the age of 16 years, the changes can only be made if the child provides their consent.

Furthermore, a child over the age of 16 years can request that their surname is changed without seeking parental consent. Although a parent can express disagreement with this, the court will uphold the change because the child is deemed to be competent enough to make a decision such as this.

Name Change Procedure

There are three main situations which would require changing childs surname and the process for each is slightly different.

Unmarried Parents at Registration

If the parents of the child were unmarried at the time of registration, but they have married since, the birth will need to be re-registered to reflect the current legal status of the child. Both parents will need to obtain and sign a form issued by the Register Office.

Once signed, either of the parents can then take a copy of the marriage certificate and the form to the Register Office to officially change the child’s name. Birth will then be re-registered but with the amended surname. Soon after this certified copies of the amended birth certificate can be obtained from the registrar.

Unmarried Parents and Unregistered Father

When the birth was registered, the parents were not married and the father could not provide his details for the birth record.

In this instance, the father’s details can be incorporated into the new certificate as part of a re-registration and the child’s surname can be changed. This can be requested at any stage. It is preferred that both parents attend the register office to request re-registration.

There may be cases when a parent cannot attend. In this case, they will be asked to make a statutory declaration which confirms their parentage under oath which is witnessed by suitable individuals.

Either parent can also make a request to obtain a court order which names the father of the child.

Unmarried Parents and the Child Took the Fathers Name

When a child is born, sometimes the child will take the father’s name, even if he is not married to the child’s mother. In this case, the child’s name can never be changed to the same as the mother.

In this case, the only way that the child’s name could be changed is to make a statutory declaration or deed poll which would officially change the surname of the child.

However, this will not have any impact on the original birth registration. The original registration information will remain the same but with the statutory declaration or deed poll attached.

This would be sufficient evidence to confirm that the child was being raised with a different surname from the one that was recorded at the time their birth was registered.

Statutory Declaration and Deed Poll

If you have been wondering what a Statutory Declaration or Deed Poll is, this is simply a document where an individual will swear under oath that certain circumstances are true.

In the case of a name change this will be a document sworn under oath that states the old surname and confirms that from the date of the document that the new name will be used.

Special Circumstances

Where the child was baptised in the Christian Church there are further rules that need to be complied with. The vicar of minister of the Christian Church will need to complete what is known as a Certificate of Name Given in Baptism form.

These forms should be sent to the Register Office. If the child currently lives in another location from where they were baptised, the paperwork should be submitted to the right Register Office.

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