About Changing a Child’s Surname
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.
Consequently, changing this historical record is allowable only under certain conditions and there are strict requirements regarding these circumstances.
Circumstances to Change a Child’s Surname
To correct errors in spelling
Changing a child’s surname in the original record of birth can only be done for purposes of correcting spelling errors. Should a correction be necessary, then the person who registered the birth must provide proof that an error does in fact exist.
This procedure will depend on and when this correction is requested.
If the request is made within a few weeks from registration, then this can be done by sending a letter to the original Register Office requesting the correction along with the circumstances under which the error was made. The person requesting must provide a reasonable explanation of why the errors were made in the first place.
If a longer period has passed before the request is made, then in addition to the requirements above, documentary proof must be included to prove that the child is being raised with the name different from that recorded in the birth registration. This proof, which can be an NHS medical card, bank book or other similar documents, should be submitted along with the request letter, to the Registrar Generals office and will be subject to their consideration.
Other cases of surname change can be done only through a re-registration process
Two Circumstances of Re-registration
- To enter into the record the natural fathers details
- To reflect the marriage of the parents if they were not married at the time of birth
In these cases, the child can undergo a re-registration where the child’s surname can be changed to either the father’s, the mother’s or a combination of both. Both parents should be in agreement with this change.
If the child’s age is 16 years or over, then the change can only be done with the child’s consent.
In relation to the above, a child aged 16 and over can request a change in surname without parental consent. While a parent can express their opposition to such a move by the child, the court is likely to allow the change as it will hold that the child is competent and mature enough to make such decisions.
Procedures Involved. There are three distinct situations that call for different procedures:
- Parents were unmarried at the time of birth but got married since.
If at the time of birth the parents were unmarried but have married each other since, the birth must be re-registered to reflect accurately the current legal status of the child. There is a form in the Register Office that has to be signed by both parents.
For more information on:
- What is a Statutory Declaration or Deed Poll
- Other Special Circumstances