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Family Law

Change of Name

People change their name for many reasons. You might want to change your name because you are in a new relationship, you are ending a relationship or for other reasons. It might be that you wish to change a child's name due to adoption or specific family circumstances. Having a Change of Name Deed Poll or a Statutory Declaration drawn up by a family law solicitor means authorities such as financial institutions will more readily accept the change over your word, as it is legally binding.

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What is the difference between a Statutory Declaration and a Deed Poll?

Both are legally binding documents used for a Change of Name.

A Statutory Declaration is signed under oath in the presence of a Notary, Justice of the Peace, solicitor, or a Commissioner for Oaths. In contrast, a friend or colleague can witness a Deed Poll.

Most people opt for the latter because it is quicker and more cost-effective. However, if you are not a British citizen or live abroad, you might be asked to show a Statutory Declaration rather than a Deed Poll. It is advisable to check with your embassy.

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Who can make a change of name?

Most people over the age of 16 can legally change their name. A name change is acceptable unless it seeks to defraud or has some criminal benefit.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, a parent cannot override your wishes to change your name simply because they disagree with you. However, if there is a court order in place stopping you from changing your name, then you will need to wait until you are 18 years old.

If you are not a British national or have dual nationality, you can still change your name by Deed Poll. However, you also need to follow your country’s legal procedures.

Who cannot change their name?

When making a change of name, you must have the mental capacity to make the decision to do so.

Everybody who changes their name is assumed to have mental capacity, as long as they can understand and retain information and communicate their decision to others.

An unwise decision is not grounds to justify impaired mental capacity.

What is involved in changing the name of a child?

A child under the age of 16 can have their name changed by Deed Poll by a parent. In most circumstances, both people who share parental responsibility must agree to the decision.

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their children. Fathers usually share parental responsibility if they are either married to the child’s mother or named on the birth certificate (if the child was born after 4th May 2006).

If one parent is absent and cannot be found, changing a child’s name is still possible. Our solicitors can advise you about this.

Should one parent refuse permission to change their child’s name, an application can be made to court. The parent wishing to change the child’s name will have to prove that it is in their child’s best interests to do so.

Davisons Law can assist you with a Change of Name

Whether you wish to change your name or the name of your child, Davisons Legal can help you.

Our solicitors have helped families change their child’s name due to mistakes on a birth certificate and adoption and new family circumstances. We have also helped individuals who want to change their name to feel part of a new family, to honour someone they love, or as part of changing their gender.

Whatever your reasons, we can help you to change a name legally so that problems will not arise in the future.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help

Change of Name FAQs

You do not need a Deed Poll to change the surname of an adopted child to your family surname.

If you want to change the child’s forenames, you will need a Deed Poll. Both parents named on the adoption certificate must agree to the Change of Name(s).

Your Decree Absolute is legal evidence that you have changed your name, so you do not need to do anything else.

You only need a Deed Poll if you wish to change your name before your divorce has been finalised or you have lost your divorce documents.