How you could change your child's name if separated from their father

I want to change the surname of my three-year-old son from the father’s to mine as we separated a few months after my son was born and the father has barely been present in my son’s life. It would be easier and less confusing for my son to have my surname and for school and going abroad.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:00 pm
Advice and guidance on how you could change the name of your child by Deed Poll should you be separated from the child's father.

We were not married but the father is on the birth certificate and sees my son whenever he wants to and has never contributed to any child maintenance or my son’s needs. The father was very abusive and controlling towards me in our relationship and I know he will not agree to changing my son’s name. What can I do?

As your son is under 16, you will need the consent of each person that has parental responsibility. As he is the father and is on your son’s birth certificate, he will have parental responsibility and as changing your son’s name is an important decision in your son’s life, the father will need to agree to this. When you have the written consent of the father then you can change your son’s name by Deed Poll.

However, if he does not agree then you will need to go to court and apply for a Specific Issue Order. This asks the court to make an order on a particular matter.

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You will need to demonstrate that it is in your son’s best interests to change his name. Once you have this order then you can change your son’s name by Deed Poll.

If you are looking to go on holiday abroad with your son, you will still need permission from the father to do this even if you have changed your his name. You can only take your son abroad for 28 days without the father’s permission if there is a Child Arrangement Order that says your son lives with you.

Taking your son without permission would be child abduction. If the father does not agree then you will need to go to court again for a Specific Issue Order. You may also be eligible for Legal Aid if you have been the victim of domestic abuse.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP can offer assistance in this area. If you would like to make an appointment at one of our offices to discuss this matter further and to assess if you are eligible for Legal Aid, then contact us on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected]. Visit for further information.