CHILD DEED POLL FAQs

 

My ex-wife applied for my child’s deed poll. Can I ask for some information regarding the same?

Unfortunately, if you are not the one who applied for the deed poll, we cannot disclose any information regarding your child’s deed poll; we are bound by Data Protection legislation and also by our own Terms & Conditions, not to reveal any of our customers’ details.

 

I look after a friend’s child and have been doing so for a long time. Can I apply for a Deed Poll for them?

If you are looking after a child that is not your own, you should first consult with the child’s parents. The circumstances will depend upon the age of the child and the degree of involvement that you have had in caring for them, compared to the involvement of their parents and/or anyone else. We suggest that, if you cannot resolve this situation with the parents, and the child is still insistent about wanting to change their name, you consult solicitors or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

 

I am a foster carer, and my foster child would like to change their name. Can I apply for a Deed Poll for them?

You should look at your child’s Essential Information Record (“EIR”), to find out who has Parental Responsibility for your child. If you do not have the EIR, you should talk to your social worker. You must have a letter of consent to the name change from each person and/or body that is named on the EIR.

 

How do I sign my child’s Deed Poll?

You should sign your child’s Deed Poll at the place indicated near the bottom of the page. If your child’s other parent is also signing the Deed Poll, and you ticked the relevant box on application, and provided their address, they should also sign at the place indicated for them. If your child is 14 years old or above, there is also a place on the Deed Poll for them to sign. This is because, when children are old enough, their signature may provide further evidence of their agreed intention to be known by the new name, and this may be of further benefit when requesting organisations to update their records.

Your witness should also sign your Deed at the place indicated, and also add their address and occupation. Full instructions on execution (signing, dating and witnessing) of your Deed will be sent to you with your Deed.

 

When I registered my child’s birth at the Register Office, I made a mistake. Can I put it right?

Yes, in England and Wales, if it is a simple mistake, such as giving the wrong address, birthplace, or parent’s occupation, you should contact the Register Office where you registered your child’s birth. If, however, you made a more substantial mistake, such as with your child’s name, you may be referred to the General Register Office (contact the General Register Office by email at corrections.re-reg@gro.gsi.gov.uk or by telephone at +44 (0)300 123 1837 – opening hours Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday 9 am to 4 pm). If the mistake was substantial, then you may not be able to change the name unless you change it by Deed Poll. We suggest that you contact the Register Office where you registered the birth and they will advise you whether or not the name change is substantial and, therefore, what you need to do.

If you registered your child’s birth in Scotland or Northern Ireland, different rules apply, and it is much simpler to amend the details on a Birth Certificate.

 

I want to change the birth certificate of my child, as I have now married her biological father. Can I, and, if so, how do I do it?

Yes, you can do that by contacting the General Register Office by e-mail to corrections.re-reg@gro.gsi.gov.uk or by telephone at +44 (0)300 123 1837, and their opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday 9 am to 4 pm. Although there is a website for applying for new copies of certificates, currently the www.gro.gov.uk website does not allow you to download the relevant form to apply to amend the birth certificate. As a result, it will be necessary for you to contact the GRO by telephone or by e-mail.

 

If I change my child’s name, who do I have to notify?

If you change your child’s name by Deed Poll, you should notify all relevant parties of their change of name, otherwise the name change may not be effective. When we send you your child’s Deed Poll, we will also send you a list of organisations which you should consider notifying. These organisations may be directly or indirectly affected by your child’s change of name. You should notify those organisations that have a record of your child’s name, whether that is directly because of your child’s relationship with them, or because you have a relationship with them yourself, and as a result they also record your child’s name. The list of record-holders that may be affected by your child’s change of name is as follows:

  • HM Passport Office (if your child needs a new passport)
  • Banks (if your child has a bank account)
  • Building Societies (if your child has a building society account)
  • Your employer/s, current and former, if you still have a pension with them (especially if your child is named)
  • HM Revenue & Customs (for tax and National Insurance details, and for tax credits)
  • Insurance companies (such as house building, contents, car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, critical illness insurance, especially if your child is named)
  • Finance companies
  • Private pension providers (especially if your child is named)
  • Mobile phone network providers (if your child has a mobile phone)
  • Your local authority, in respect of council tax and the electoral register
  • Your solicitor or will writer (especially if your child is named in your will)
  • Your child’s doctor (to update your child’s NHS records)
  • Your child’s dentist
  • Your child’s school or other education provider
  • Any professional bodies or associations that your family is a member of
  • Any clubs or societies that your child belongs to (for instance scouts or girl guides)
  • Your Offender Manager/Probation Officer, if you have a criminal record and are on probation
  • Your social worker, if you are serving a Community Payback Order
  • The police, if you are on the Violent and Sex Offender Register

 

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

If your child is under 16 years old, potentially both parents will have to consent to a change in the child’s name. In certain circumstances, however, you can change your child’s name without the child’s “legal” father’s consent. The first thing you have to ascertain is, who exactly is the child’s “legal” father. Then, if he is the child’s “legal” father, you need to find out if he has “Parental Responsibility” for the child.

In law, the “legal” father will most usually be the “biological” or “natural” father, especially where he was married to the mother at any time when she was pregnant with the child, or, in England and Wales from 1 December 2003, where he is named on the Birth Certificate. In other parts of the UK, the date will be different. For instance, an unmarried biological father will only have Parental Responsibility in Scotland if the child’s birth was registered or re-registered on or after 4 May 2006 and his name was recorded as the father on the registration. In Northern Ireland, the relevant date is 15 April 2002.

If there is a court order or agreement of any kind relating to the child (for instance, a Parental Responsibility Order, Adoption Certificate, Residence Order, Parental Responsibility Agreement, Special Guardianship Order or Specific Issue Order) then this could set out exactly who has Parental Responsibility. In addition, if there was a surrogacy relationship affecting the child, this may affect who has Parental Responsibility.

If the father of the child does have Parental Responsibility, then you will have to get his consent to change the name of your child if your child is not yet 16 years of age. If your child is 16 or more years old, then they can change their name themselves, without the consent of either parent, or anyone else, unless there is a Court Order in place which says otherwise.

For more information, please review our “Parental Responsibility” page and corresponding FAQs.

 

What age can children change their name without parental consent?

Children who are 16 or above can legally change their name without first obtaining anyone’s consent, unless there is a court order in place that overrides this.

A child under the age of 16 can only change their name if everyone with parental responsibility for them gives their consent. A person with parental responsibility can obtain a Deed Poll for such a child, but in order to put the change of name into effect, for instance by updating the child’s passport, written evidence of the consent of all people with parental responsibility would have to be sent to HM Passport Office.

For more information, please review our “Parental Responsibility” page and corresponding FAQs.

 

I’m 15 years old and want to change my name. Can I get a Deed Poll?

If you want to change your name now, you will have to have the consent of everyone with Parental Responsibility. If you cannot get all of the necessary consents, you should bear in mind that you can apply for an adult Deed Poll to change your name as soon as you are 16 years old. For more information, please review our “Parental Responsibility” page and corresponding FAQs.

 

Do I need a Deed Poll in the case of a formal adoption?

In case of adoption via the formal process of adoption, there is no need for a Deed Poll since the adoption certificate issued in this case certifies the child’s new name and is acceptable by all the organizations.

However, a Deed Poll is required if the adoptive parents want to change their child’s name. In such case, consent of the parents (mentioned on the adoption certificate) is mandatory.

 

I am a man and I am separated from my wife, but the children live with me. Can I change my children’s surname?

If your children are younger than 16 years old and you were previously married, it is likely that you can only change your children’s names if your wife consents. In order to change your children’s names, you must have Parental Responsibility for them, and there are strict rules for deciding who exactly has Parental Responsibility.

Please visit our “Parental Responsibility” page for more information.

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