4 Valid Reasons For Changing A Child’s Name

emily gordon brown
Emily Gordon BrownLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 29th January 2024

Are you a parent or legal guardian questioning whether to change your child's name? Sometimes circumstances may call for a change, from breakups and new relationships to the child's feelings and preferences towards their name.

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In this article, we aim to:

  • List valid reasons for changing a child's name;

  • Look at the legal procedure for changing a child's name;

  • Explore solutions when parents or guardians don't agree a reason is valid to change a child's name.

5 valid reasons for changing a child's name

Changing a child’s name is a big decision for parents, but there are numerous valid reasons parents may want to do this, including:

Marriage or divorce

A common reason for changing a child's name can be due to two people getting married or entering into a civil partnership. When two individuals legally recognise their relationship, they may decide to hyphenate or create a new last name for their family and want everyone in the family share the same surname. This is not always the case but is certainly a valid reason for wanting to change a child's name.

Similarly, another valid reason for changing a child's name may be due to divorce. It could be a person with parental responsibility wants to change their child's last name back to their maiden name, so they share the same name.

Gender transition

A child might want to change their names because they feel their current name doesn't represent them.

This is a very valid reason to consider a name change, however parents and their children might want to take time before changing a child's name by deed poll to test out a new name and ensure the child is happy with it.

If a child decide's they would like to get a Gender Recognition Certificate or a new birth certificate to represent their transition and gender identity, they can get a change of name deed by changing their name by deed poll.

Safety and privacy

A child’s safety and privacy is another valid reason for a name change. For instance, if a child's original name is linked to an abusive or neglectful family situation, changing their name can safeguard them and their privacy.

Similarly, if a child has a unique or unusual name that could make them more susceptible to bullying or targeted online harassment, opting for a name change might be a valid decision to protect them.

Personal preference

Personal preference is another deciding factor. It’s not uncommon for some parents to want to honour a family member or loved one, while others may prefer a rather unique or trendy name.

It could be that the name is difficult to pronounce or spell or has a negative connotation in certain cultures or languages that weren't considered previously.

Process overview: Changing A child's name

Changing a child's name is a significant decision that requires thoughtful consideration and adherence to specific legal procedures. Whether you're a parent or legal guardian considering a name change for your child, it's essential to understand the process and the importance of parental consent.

To change a child's name, you can apply for a deed poll by completing the forms on gov.uk, which costs £42.44.

This deed poll acts as evidence of a name change. To do this, you'll need to complete a deed poll application, including the child's current name, the new name you wish to assign, and your details as the parent or legal guardian.

Once the deed poll application is prepared, it should be signed and witnessed. The witnessing process is crucial and often requires the involvement of a solicitor or notary public. They will verify the document and confirm that you are the parent or legal guardian of the child.

All those with parental responsibility must agree to the name change. However, if one parent objects, things can get complicated, and the next best step is to seek legal guidance from a family solicitor.

In some cases, it may be necessary to get a court order to change a child's name if a guardian doesn't agree with the decision to do so.

To obtain this court order, it may be necessary to complete a form (C100) and pay a fee of £215.

It’s best to consult a family law expert for guidance throughout this journey. It's possible the matter could be solved through family mediation to avoid the stress and extent of going through the courts.

Changing a child’s name by deed poll is relatively straightforward if both biological parents (or anyone with parental responsibility) consent to the change.

However, this isn’t always the case, and you may find yourself in a deadlock trying to secure a name change or prevent it.

If this is the case, it might be helpful to seek support from a family law solicitor who can help you with more complex change of name deed matters.

At Lawhive, our solicitors are here to help you quickly and affordably with family law matters. To get started, just tell us about your case, and we’ll assign you the best solicitor for the matter and give you an instant fixed-fee quote for the work involved.

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