How to change a child’s surname

Legal name, known-as name and last name

The name of the child can be changed via Deed Poll with consent from those with parental responsibility. If you were wondering how to change a child’s surname, you can change any part of your child’s name, whether it be the forename, surname, to add or remove names, or change the spelling of the child’s name. 

Changing Child’s Surname

A child’s surname can be changed if the birth of the child is re-registered. Re-registration can be carried out in these circumstances: 

  • Recoding the biological father’s details on the child’s birth record
  • Recording the female partner of the child’s mother on the child’s birth record, if she is the legal parent and was not recorded originally
  • Following the marriage of the child’s parents, if they were not married when the child was born
  • Following the civil partnership of the legal parents, if they were not civil partners when the child was born
  • After a court has issued a declaration of child’s parentage


Changing a Child’s Name Through Their Birth Certificate

It’s very unlikely that your child’s birth certificate will be amended when your child’s name is changed through Deed Poll. After all, the birth certificate is considered a historical record which contains the correct information at the time of birth. In certain circumstances, the child’s birth certificate can be amended, and the child’s name can be changed through it. 

Legal Name

Besides knowing how to change a child’s surname, you might want to change the child’s legal name. It is vital to understand the distinction between a child’s legal name and the name for which they are known. The child’s legal name is the name that is shown on their birth certificate and is used for legal, administrative and other official purposes. It can only be changed via Deed Poll or, alternatively, through a change of the child’s birth certificate in certain situations.

When it comes to “known as” names, schools and GPs often provide the option to add it in addition to registering your child’s legal name. Therefore, the legal name will be used on all official documents, whereas the known as the name will be used on less official documentation, and teachers can address the child by it. 

Process of Changing a Child’s Surname

If a child is born to married parents, one or both parents will register their child’s name on the birth certificate. A child usually takes the surname of their father unless the mother wishes them to have a different surname and the father agrees with that. For the name change to be fully recognized, the person with parental responsibility for the child can execute a Deed Poll.

Unmarried fathers don’t have to register their child’s birth, and they have no independent right to have their name on the child’s birth certificate. Unmarried mothers can enter the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate only if they both agree and sign the register, each of them produces a sworn statement or they have an appropriate Court Order. 

In case of a divorce, children keep their present surnames, but changing a child’s last name occurs only if a parent wants to, for instance, so everyone will have the same surname in the new family unit. 

Family Names

Changing your child’s last name when you remarry or set up a new partnership is not simple. The Court will decide what the best interest of the child is when it comes to changing a family name. Typically, an application to change a child’s surname is only successful when everyone with parental responsibility gives their consent. 

A mother or a father cannot change their child’s surname individually unless they are the only parent with parental responsibility for the child. If the other parent objects to a surname change, a Court Order should be made.

Now that you know how to change a child’s surname, it’s time to start following up on the procedure according to your circumstances and gather all of the information needed for a surname change.


The UK Deed Poll Office is not a government agency. Our function is purely as a document provider for the self-declaration of an unenrolled deed poll. We are here to assist in your name change journey, as we have done for over 100,000 UK residents.


Join the thousands who have trusted the UK Deed Poll Office to help change their name. Fill out our fast, simple, and affordable online application to receive your Deed Poll in no time!
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