Can I change my child’s surname without the father’s consent?

October 5, 2011

My ex-partner and father to our son was absent for the first 3 years of his life. Showed interest for 4 years, then we fell out again so he decides to disown his son once again and hasn’t seen him for 2 years. I have always encouraged/argued with the ex to have contact with our son as I feel it is important my son knows his father and even gave my son my old phone so I was no longer in the middle and they could keep in contact and arrange visits etc between themselves to which I would help facilitate by dropping off and picking my son up from his dads or wherever. My ex just can’t and never has been arsed! The ex lives 2 minutes from us and has 2 other children who he sees regularly. The ex pays maintenance but only because the CSA has had to take it out of his wages. (everytime the ex and I fall out he stops seeing his son and paying maintenance voluntarily) Our son is 9yrs old now and I’m due to get married in a few weeks.

My soon to be husband is and has been a great father to my son for the past 6 years. Since my sons biological father dropped him like a hot brick my son calls my STB husband dad. Since I’ll be changing my surname soon, this means that my STB husband and his 2 kids will share the same name. I want my son to feel like he belongs by giving him our family name and to give him a sense of security. Not to cut the ex out of his life, for if he turned up tomorrow wanting to see his son I’d let him, whether our son would thats another question!!

I have had a look on Deedpoll uk but it says that if the father is on the births certificate, has contact and pays maintenance then the mother cannot change name without consent.

Does anyone know if the a court would grant a change in name without consent if the father is absent but pays maintenance? The father couldn’t give a shit but cos he is forced to pay maintenance does this automatically give him a say in the matter?


  • carl says:


  • joanne shier says:

    Yes you can by deed poll, info on the web. Did this with my two children and my son is 9 also . Good luck.

  • Maria says:

    Flesh and Blood??? what does that mean when the so called ‘flesh and blood’ is absent and has no interest in their child or being any part of the childs life whatsoever? Rapist definitely NOT but sperm donor…..maybe…………

  • Adom Barnor says:

    you are not allowed to change the surname of a child if a residential order is in force in other words section 13A of the childrens act and the marriage act of 1973 no matter what your ex has done there is also a house of lords ruling which makes it illegal if you want further info contact me at [email protected] my advice do not do it, my ex did it and csa paid the price of a high court judge making them alter all their documents the house of lords ruling will make it hard if you do not get permission from your ex, contact me i am not a solicitor but enjoyed seeing csa squirm it was great

  • joanne shier says:

    Flesh and blood? My sons father nearly killed his son and his sister, didn’t care about flesh and blood then, and I met a great man and wanted a family unit for us all, The law changed with regards to equal rights of the father in 2003, you might need to speak to your ex as I see he pays maintainence for the child, you can use an alias for your son instead of deed poll. I can understand why you would to change his name, but if dad is involved then its not fair to him, and you can’t have it both ways I’m afraid.

  • Maria says:

    The Father has not had any contact for the last 2 years due to a fall out between me and him. His lack of contact has been completely and soley his decision not mine. He stopped paying any maintenance for our son when we fell out so the CSA have finally caught up with him and now take payments directly from his wages every month. His payments are not voluntary whatsoever. When we fell out and he told me he didn’t want to see our son anymore, I tried to talk him around and asked him not to take it out on our son to which he refused all through text messages of which I have saved. One suggesting that my partner adopt his son!
    I will seek my sons fathers consent to the change of name but there is a chance that he will be a total arsehole and suddenly get centimental and claim that he wants his name to live on……….
    How long does the father have to be absent before a court may grant the change of name and can the fact that the father pays maintenance be classed as having an involvement especially when the payments are not voluntary or through an act of responsibility?

  • Sally says:

    I am sincerely sorry to hear about your situation as you sound like a decent and reasonable mother… I am the partner of the NRP and the mother has prevented the father from seeing the kids so many times, she has lied to the kids and CSA (said he was violent), has made him out to be some kind of monster (he isn’t, he left her because he was depressed for 6 years due to her behaviour)… all because he didn’t do what she wanted (I know this though mutual friends and family and we (his ex and I) have mutual friends who have told me of her behaviour…

    Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that because of the emotional turmoil the mother has put the kids through when they have told her they miss their dad (that’s when she told the kids he was voilent to them all, but “they were too young to remember”) his 12 year old daughter sent us private facebook messaged telling us how much she loved us and missed us. My partner decided to cut all ties with the kids, for their benefit. He sat his daughter down and explained the situation and how much he loved and while she said she undertood… she was heartbroken… both kids were/are.

    I do not agree with any absent parents and belive that both parents should do all they can to see thieir kids and give them happiness, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way…. not all mothers are reasonable and nurturing… some just want to punish everyone for their unhappiness…

    Again, I am genuinely sorry your son has missed out on his fathers time… my partner is heartbroken that he is missing out on all the funtimes with his kids…. but he is a nervous wreck wondering what his ex is going to do/say next… and if, one day, his kids might actually believe their mother :'(. We have been together for 3 years and I can say that he is a decent, hardworking man who has never missed a payment for his children… his downfall was that he chose the wrong woman to be the mother of his children and is now paying the price!!

  • emma says:

    i know exactly where your comeing from hun my 3 children have not seen there dad for 7 years cuz he cant be bothered ive been through solicitors and contact centers but he didnt turn up for the visit my eldest son who is 11 has his fathers surname but the younger 2 children dont as he wouldnt sign the birth certificate im longing to change my 11 yr olds surname to my name so he dont feel he is left out from my other children i cant see why my ex should have any right over my sons name when he clearly dont give a toss about his children so im 1000% with you on this xx

  • Maria says:

    I did my research, and because I and the father of my son were not married and my son was born before 13th December 2003 his father does not have any parental responsibility. This has allowed me to change my sons name without his consent. I did however have the curtousy to ask my sons father for his consent last year, to which he refused unless I contacted the CSA to stop his payments telling them that myself and my husband will take full financial responsibility! The CSA informed me that changing my sons name does not exempt his from paying maintenance for his son.
    Emma I also found out that if you change your sons name and his dad takes you to court then the judge will take what your son wants in to account more than yours and the fathers.

  • deb says:

    Another job skip just before christmas!! well done Simon!

  • chrs says:

    it doesn’t matter whether its against the law or not, a childs name should stay under his/her fathers name whether in or out there life. my ex makes things impossible to see my son, i pay child support through CSA every month yet as she is jelous that i have another child i see her more that im in the wrong for not being able to see my son as much, now iget threats that she will change his surname to get back at me! so you can all talk about fathers not wanting to be involved with there children but all i want is to be in my sons life. if i could financially afford it i would take her to court. but public funding doesnt exist anymore.

    the only reason a child would want there name changed is if the mother fills ther head with it. as a child may think its fun or exciting.i changed my surname when i was a child when my mum re-married. they divorced and it changed back, but now i think how much that hurt my dad when it happened. where are a fathers rights? fair enough if your ex hasnt played any part for years upon years. but please dont for get about the emotional stress fathers like me have to go through to be able to see there children!

  • Trina says:

    I can understand all of your points of views. Especially fathers that are good,decent and caring fathers like chrs. But there are fathers that dont deserve to have been blessed with having ANY children. My ex husband is a prime example. He’s a control freak and likes to intimidate, which he did for nearly 14yrs. I finally smelt the coffee when he cheated on me while expecting our second child, the same year my mother passed away. He is a selfish father, only thinks about himself and his dick. He has never put our children first, nor spent quality time with them. He remarried had another child, as well as step children, and he still couldn’t be bothered to spend time with them . He made them feel like they were guests in his home instead of their second home. His 2nd wife didn’t make them felel welcome. He is now left her, after cheating on her several times, and is in another relationship, this woman has 2 small children. In the past I have written in desparation to my mother-in-law explaining how his relationship is deteriotaing with his children, if she could help, get him to see that he would eventually lose his relationship with them. I have moved away now 4yrs ago, as 7yrs of mentally abusing my children and scarring them for life was all I could bare. I know that I tried 100% for him to have a relationship with my children. My daughter will be 16 soon, she will be changing her name to mine. She hates her father, my 13yr old son, is hurt and doesn’t feel that his father should be called dad anymore, as he doesn’t deserve that title, as he has never been their for him nor put him first for anything. That makes me feel sad. I have always said their father loves them both, but has a strange way of showing it. I feel sorry for him, he has missed out on so much, just because he couldn’t be bothered. I have not ever told my children to have my name, they have chosen it for themselves, even when my daughter was 10yrs old, her father said she can change her name when she understands. My daughter at the age of 10, told her father that he will always be my daddy, that wont change, but I prefer the name (my name), nothing personnal, but I prefer it, all my friends, family, doctor school know me by that name…. he stormed out of the house saying NO, she was mature enough to tell him her reasons, but he was too immature to accept them. So 6yrs on, my daughter will be changing her name legally to mine. That is her choice not mine, I have not brain washed her, like chrs said in his bit above. Your children can be known as, but legally they have to be 16. Good Luck! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! XXXX

  • Trina says:

    I would just like to add, where I put in the paragraph – I have moved away now 4yrs ago, as 7yrs of mentally abusing my children and scarring them for life was all I could bare….. What I ment by that was, my ex husband, father of my children, would belittle my children in front of their step sister and step brother, in front of aunts, uncles etc. My children never had their say. they were made to feel not wanted, not cared about or loved. Never being put first, hurt them both over the years. I will give you an example, my ex step son swears, he uses the f word alot. When he came into the house he told my ex that my daughter was swearing, which he knew that was a lie, instead of speaking to my daughter, he just slapped her in front of his step son. My daughter told me 2yrs later. Another rejection from her father, believing his step son over his daughter. One last example, one time when my ex husband dropped off my children, she was with his step son, out of the blue , he made a personal comment about my sons penis, saying that he had a small one where did he get that from. I was totally digusted with him, my son was really hurt, he was about 7yrs old at the time, I told my ex not to make personal comments about my son, I say my instead of our when my ex is being nasty and hurtful and abusive to my children. He then commented on his step sons genitals as well. I told him he was out of line and asked him to leave. That is only a couple of examples, I think you get where I am coming from and why I had to make a new start with my children. He has emotionally and mentally scarred them for life. He is a toatl BASTARD!!!!

  • steve says:

    another jumped up mother who thinks they can do wat they want. u can change the persone ur goin to bed with but u cant change ur kids surname now bore off u useless twat

  • j says:

    A child’s legal name can usually only be changed by Deed Poll providing everyone with Parental Responsibility (PR) for the child consents to the name change.

    “joanne shier on October 6th, 2011 7:56 am

    Yes you can by deed poll, info on the web. Did this with my two children and my son is 9 also . Good luck.”

    Hi all

    I know this is an old thread but the cooment by joanne appears incomplete. Any major decision affecting a (qualifying) child can only be made with the agreement of those with parental responsibility, pr is automatic if the child is yours by birth but can also be ‘assumed’ like with foster parents or adoptive parents. It is a diminishing right as the child gets older. It can only be overidden in exceptional circumstances and it can also be ‘lost’ under certain conditions.

    Here is the explanation from the government website, joanne is correct it can be googled.

    “PR is a legal term and this article will explain the meaning of PR, who has PR for a child, how PR is lost, and also who may need to provide consent before your child’s name can be changed. This article also includes information about what to do if the consent of an absent father cannot be obtained.

    For the purposes of changing your child’s name, a ‘child’ is defined as a young person under the age of 16 years. If your child is aged 16 or over (or approaching their 16th birthday) s/he must apply for their own Deed Poll using the adult deed poll application form.”


  • j says:

    Oops, think I meant to say ‘comment’, I mean ‘cooment’ indeed, forgive me its late.

  • j says:

    Just re read the info in the post I found –

    “For the purposes of changing your child’s name, a ‘child’ is defined as a young person under the age of 16 years. If your child is aged 16 or over (or approaching their 16th birthday) s/he must apply for their own Deed Poll using the adult deed poll application form.”

    So for the purpose of identity a child ceases to be a child at 16yrs? For the purpose of voting 18yrs? For the csa 20yrs+?

    Surely cause for an echr clarification?

  • dadof3 says:

    The child once a fully grown adult can make their own decision on their name.

    To impose your feelings, and choices on the child would be soley for your own purposes.

    The child wont be under any kind of stress or emotional torment about it unless you make it an issue.

    After a long and bad relationship for me which ended 6 years ago after the mother cheated over and over again, shad always promised in the beginning to never stop me seeing our 3 children, but then she met someone else and surprise, surprise within months she was causing problems. After countless times of having my contact requests ignored or refused, I finally went to court to force contact.

    Then the real lies and deciept began. She, as many thousands of other women do every day across this country, is determined to get at me by using the children and the heart ache that brings in her sick game of control.

    She has now married the man she met and had another child, all the while trying t cut me out of their lives.

    I have been lied about so many times in order for her to back up her story telling to the police, judges, social services that it could almost be comical if it wasnt so deadly serious.

    Women out there need to step back and think for a moment – what is it was you who had your children taken away by the father who then played games with you by stopping contact? – how much heartache could you take? How long could you go without being allowed to see your children who you love more than anything n this world before you lose the plot, go insane, top yourself or decide that enough is enough and you can only wait for the child to grow up and come find you because there’s too much pain in trying anymore to fight and swim against the tide that is the unjust, one sidedness of UK so called equal rights?

    I know there are bad fathers – there are also bad mothers of course too.

    Anyone can have children but that doesnt mean anyone is capable of good parenting.

    Leave all prejudice aside, live your life, be happy, and one day soon, your child will be grown, if he/she wants to change his/her name then, then its their choice whole heartedly.

    Good luck.

  • Dean says:

    Hiya sorry but unfortunately you can’t I’m a farther of 2 children to my ex who I’m fortunat to still have a good friendship with we have been separated for 12 years in that time she had another kid to som1 else who left 1 month after he was born and even in that month wasn’t around much anyway and even when he was born on the day I held the bairn before his dad his excus was I want the bairn to bond with his mom. But me being me said yes when my ex asked me to take on the little 1 as my own which I have done whole hardedly but my condition was I wanted to change his name to mine so when he grew up he wouldn’t have any stick growing up and so he wouldn’t feel like the odd one out I’ve been his dad all his life and his real dad has seen him or supported him no money or nothing a man that doesn’t deserve nothing but when we enquired about changing his name and me adopting him we were told no the law should look at the rules more closely to changing it so dads who don’t pay and don’t contact there kids there rights should be takin away from them but thay won’t so I feel your pain

  • mathew says:

    no all fathers are useless ,my ex made it impossible to let me see my kids even after courts were involved .and money was tight so i had to give up she even asked the courts can she change the kids name to the partner she went off with to which they said no!!
    few months down the road had mail off csa with new payment i had to make and gues what hey, presto she changed their names so i went from contact to nothing(just incase ur wondering she moved a bloke in and tried getting me out) .she moved too dont know where! changed her own name and kids so all the orders court gave me were a waste of time and money and i havent seen kids in 10yrs and yes it breaks my heart nearly every day in thinking of them

  • Maria Sullivan says:

    My partner has 2 kids, he has been seperated from his wife for about 2 years, sees the kids in half terms, pays privatly through his bank money to her every week for the kids.
    His wife asked him if she could change the kids name, he said no
    Today she has texted him saying she has changed their names without his consent.
    What can he do? He is gutted, really upset

  • GDB says:

    Ref: – Maria Sullivan on May 20th

    If there is a residence order from the court the mother cannot change the children’s surname.

    Does the dad have “PR” ?

    Subject to certain issues the dad could ask the court to order that the surnames are changed back.

    There are a few other factors, need more information in order to carify the situation.

  • Maria says:

    My son had had no persuading or suggestions to change his name..however my son is aware that mine, his step dads and step brother and sister have the same surname..he asked straight away if he could change his surname (hadn’t seen his biological dad for 2yrs) I waited over 12 months after getting married never mentioning it and only discussing it when my son brought up the subject..I also questioned his reasons for wanting to change his name every time and every time his reply was ‘want to feel part of a family, this family, I’m not part of my dads family anymore cos I don’t see him’. I didn’t rush into changing his name and made sure it was what my son really wanted….if he changes his mind further down the line he can change it back. My son will always know who his biological father is (only lives round the corner) and I never speak ill of him and always make excuses for him as to why he doesn’t see my/our son. But for the time being if changing my sons name makes my son feel like he belongs in our family, loved and secure then so be it…if my sons biological father had continued to see our son for the past 3 years name changing would not be an issue and I would not be on this forum….mothers who stop dads from seeing their children and change names out of spite are totally out of order and I sympathise with all dads out there struggling to see their children but unfortunately my sons dad don’t give a monkeys and knows he can see his son anytime he likes as i have told him so many times..thing is, that decision will probably be out of his hands soon, our son is 10 nearly 11 now and will make that decision himself which I will find very sad 🙁

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