How To Change Your Child's Surname After Divorce In The UK

Changing your kid’s surname in the event of a divorce requires undertaking a few processes. Before heading to that part, let’s first understand a few English laws surrounding this topic. 

The English law makes it mandatory to register the new born’s name on the birth certificate. Either of the parents can do this. Moreover, the child’s surname (like Patel or Smith etc.) is kept after the entire family unit. 

In most cases, the kid adopts his father’s surname, unless the mother wants her surname to be used instead. In such a case, the father has to agree to it. Also, unmarried fathers do not need to go through the child’s surname registration process. They also do not have any legal right to include their name in the child’s birth certificate. 

The child can keep his/her surname after the divorce process. However, the father or the mother might possibly want the surname to be changed. Yes, it is possible under British laws. 

However, there is more to the story than a “simple” yes. We have included all the details regarding changing your child’s surname after divorce. Have a look. 

Changing Your Kid’s Surname

You can use a deed poll to change your child’s surname. It is a legal dossier that contains full details of the child. It is later presented in the London Gazette by the Court. This is mandatory to ensure that the name change is legally valid. 

However, both the parents must permit the name change. Parental consent is not required for children aged 16 years or above (or nearing their 16th birthday). The child needs to file a deed poll by himself. 

What To Do If The Father Opposes The Name Change Process

If such a case arises, you need to apply for a Special Issue Order in the family court. This issue order will be effective under the 8th section of the Child Act, 1989. You need to specify the reason for applying. In your case, it would be changing the surname of your child to your maiden name or adopting the surname of your new spouse. 

However, the current father’s argument may include (or accuse) you of trying to demean his identity by changing the child’s surname. It would also help if you convinced the judge that it is in the child’s best interest. You need to make sure that the court doesn’t think you’re doing it out of rage or other ulterior motives. Your argument needs to be valid and reasonable. 

FAQs Regarding Changing Your Child’s Last Name

Q. Is it possible for the parent & step-parent to change the kid’s name on their own?

A. No. The law states that anyone with PR (Parental Responsibility) of the child must consent to the name change process. If there’s no-one with the PR, the court’s consent will be counted. 

Q. What if the ex opposes the name change process?

A. The court will consider all facts. It will overrule the opposition if it thinks the facts are valid and reasonable. 

Q. How much time does the process take?

A. It depends on the method you choose. Going with a solicitor can take several weeks. However, online deed poll agencies usually take less time to get things done for you.

Q. Can the kid change their surname on their own?

A. Yes. If a child is 16 or older, they can apply for the name change process themselves. However, the consent of the person supervising them will be required. 

Wrapping Up

Changing your child’s surname after divorce requires several legal steps. It also takes a lot of time if you go with a solicitor. Take cues from this article to fully understand how to go about changing your child’s surname after divorce. You can consider ordering a deed poll online. It is easier and convenient than going with a solicitor.