Can I Change My Child’s Name?

Many families choose to change their child’s surname for lots of different reasons. Find out what you need to do below. This is general guidance. Call our team to find out your options.

[article updated 26 April 2023]


The process to change your child’s name is pretty straightforward by deed poll or statutory declaration. Complications can arise depending on the child’s age and agreed parental responsibility.

Under 16 Years Old

Only family members with parental responsibility can change their child’s name. Everyone with parental responsibility will need to agree to the change.

  • For Official Documents – such as passports or driving licenses, you will need to complete a Deed poll. You can choose to complete the forms yourself or ask our team to take care of the paperwork on your behalf.
  • Statutory declaration – one of the easiest ways is to complete a formal statement of intention to change your child’s name. This is signed under oath in the presence of a solicitor. Many organisations will accept the Declaration as proof of name change. It is not valid for official documents.

Children aged 16 or 17 Years Old

Children who are aged at least 16 can choose to change their name by themselves. They will still need to provide consent for their names to be changed and then complete either a deed poll or statutory declaration of name change.

What if both parents don’t agree to the name change?

Everyone with parental responsibility needs to agree to the name change. If only one parent has parental responsibility, they do not need the other parent’s agreement to change the child’s name. However, you may wish to notify each parent about the potential name change. Your solicitor will normally contact the other parent on your behalf.

When both parents have Parental Responsibility, both parents must agree to the change.  Your solicitor will write to the other parent asking for consent to change the child’s name. If consent is given then a Change of Name Deed can be prepared.

If parents are unable to agree on a child’s surname, then an application may have to be made to Court for a decision on what the child should be called. SKB Law are experienced family law specialists in disputes concerning children. We can offer detailed guidance about your options.

What if one parent is absent?

You will not need the consent of an absent parent. However, the parent seeking to change the child’s name, should take reasonable steps to contact the absent parent. Evidence of these steps may need to be provided when changing a name by deed poll.

How long does it take to obtain a Statutory Declaration of Name Change? 

In general, our team can prepare the document within a week. Call our office to find out your options on 01274 727373. We cannot provide legal advice during this call.

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