Parental Responsibility - UK Deed Poll Office

Parental Responsibility

It is the adult who is making the application with us for a Deed Poll for a child, who is responsible for ensuring that they have all necessary consents in place from all people and/or bodies with Parental Responsibility.  They should have all the necessary letters of consent before they make the application with us for a change of name deed.  For more information about who exactly may have Parental Responsibility for your child, please go to the Deed Poll Information list at the top left of this page, and click on “Children” and “Parental Responsibility”.

Children who are 16 or above can legally change their name without first obtaining anyone’s consent.  Of course, this may have been overridden in certain circumstances, for instance by a court if there is a court order in place.

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.  Schools, also, are likely to insist upon seeing all letters of consent, before they will change their records for a child who is under 16.

If you apply for a Deed Poll for your child, we will not have to see any of your letters of consent from other people or bodies that have parental responsibility for your child – this is a matter for you.  Your child’s Deed Poll will not be an identity document.  However, as you and your child will have to provide the Deed Poll as evidence of the change of name from time to time, and you will also have to provide the letters of consent, we would advise that you always keep them together.

The law on Parental Responsibility is governed by the law of the country where the child is resident. The law is slightly different in different areas of the UK. In general, the law in England and Wales is set out below.

It is the “legal” parents who are the people seen as having Parental Responsibility for a child. The “legal” parents are not necessarily the “biological” or “natural” parents, and it is possible for two men, or two women to be seen as being the “legal” parents.

In law, the “legal” mother will most usually be the woman who gave birth to the child. This may be different if the child was adopted or was given birth to by a surrogate mother.

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.

Where a child has been adopted, the Adoption Certificate will state who the “legal” parents of the child are.

As regards surrogacy, the couple who arranged surrogacy should apply to the Courts for a Parental Order which allows them to be named as the “legal” parents of the child.

In general, a person can always apply to the Courts for a Declaration of Parentage, if they have a valid personal interest in the outcome. If granted, such a person would then have Parental Responsibility for the purpose of a change of name of the child concerned.

Other factors that may affect Parental Responsibility are, for instance, where a person becomes a child’s guardian, or obtains a residence order in their favour.

It is the responsibility of the adult who is making the application with us for a Deed Poll for a child, to ensure that they have the consent of all people and/or bodies with Parental Responsibility, before they make the application.

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.

If both of the legal parents consent to the child’s change of name, and both can sign the deed poll, please tick both mother and father boxes on the application page.  If they cannot both sign, then please tick only the box for the parent who can sign the Deed Poll.  In this case, you must have a letter of consent from the other parent (as well as from any other person with Parental Responsibility), unless there is a valid reason why the other person cannot give their consent.  For instance, this may be where they have died, or where the parents are separated and one of the parents cannot be found despite concerted efforts to find them.  Please see below a copy of the draft notification letter which is enclosed with your Deed Poll.  This letter asks organisations to record your child’s change of name, and it sets out all of the options that may apply in respect of parental responsibility for your child.

In most circumstances it will be either one or both of the biological parents, who have parental responsibility.  We have put together a flowchart (see below) to help you to assess whether the mother has sole parental responsibility, or joint parental responsibility with the father.  Of course, other people or bodies may have parental responsibility, if for instance there is a Court Order, or an adoption, as set out above. The flowchart below is very basic and has been set out as simply as possible.

Parental Responsibility More - draft 2 - 09.07.14-page0001

DRAFT COVERING NOTIFICATION LETTER FOR YOUR CHILD’S DEED POLL

[YOU INSERT YOUR ADDRESS]

[YOU INSERT DATE HERE]

[YOU INSERT HERE THE ADDRESS OF THE BODY TO BE NOTIFIED]

Dear Sirs

CHANGE OF NAME – [INSERT YOUR CHILD’S FORMER NAME] – [YOU SHOULD INSERT ANY RELEVANT REFERENCES HERE]

I would like to notify you that my child has legally changed [his][her] name from [INSERT CHILD’S FORMER NAME] to [INSERT YOUR CHILD’S NEW NAME].

[YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING 4 STATEMENTS THAT APPLIES TO YOU]

  • I have sole parental responsibility for my child.  No other person has acquired or holds parental responsibility for my child, whether by agreement or court order.  There is no court, custody or parental responsibility order that prevents me from effecting this name change.
  • My child’s mother/father who holds parental responsibility jointly with me, [insert full name of other parent], and I separated in [insert month and year of separation].  I no longer have any contact with them.  My last contact was [give details of how long] ago, and despite concerted efforts to locate them to give their consent, I have been unable to find them.  [Give further details of what you have done to locate them and if there has been any contact, such as birthday cards, from them to the child.]  I confirm that there is no court, custody or parental responsibility order that prevents me from effecting this name change.
  • My child’s mother/father who held parental responsibility jointly with me, has died on [insert date].  A copy of the death certificate is enclosed for your information.  I confirm that there is no court, custody or parental responsibility order that prevents me from effecting this name change.
  • My child’s mother/father who holds parental responsibility jointly with me, [insert full name of other parent], [has also signed our child’s Deed Poll OR consents to the change of name and I enclose a copy of their letter of consent].  I confirm that there is no court, custody or parental responsibility order that prevents us from effecting this name change.

[IF YOU CHOSE THE FIRST OF THE STATEMENTS ABOVE, YOU SHOULD ALSO CHOOSE THE ONLY APPLICABLE STATEMENT FROM THE NEXT 6 OPTIONS]

  • My child’s birth was registered in [insert either England or Wales] before 1 December 2003.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of the birth or at any time subsequently.
  • My child’s birth was registered in [insert either England or Wales] after 1 December 2003.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of the birth or at any time subsequently.  The father’s details are not shown on my child’s birth certificate.
  • My child’s birth was registered in Scotland before 4 May 2006.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of conception or at any time after the birth.
  • My child’s birth was registered in Scotland after 4 May 2006.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of conception or at any time after the birth.  The father’s details are not shown on my child’s birth certificate.

 

  • My child’s birth was registered in Northern Ireland before 15 April 2002.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of the birth.
  • My child’s birth was registered in Northern Ireland after 15 April 2002.  I was not married to my child’s father at the time of the birth.  The father’s details are not shown on my child’s birth certificate.

I have executed a Deed Poll, or change of name deed, which legally documents my child’s change of name.  I enclose the Deed Poll and would be grateful if you would update your records.  I would be grateful if you would return the Deed Poll to me as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully

 

[INSERT YOUR NAME]

How to apply

Apply now using our fast, simple and secure online application form and make payment with Paypal or Credit Card.
Once we have received your order we will print your Deed Poll and have it sent out on the same day via Royal Mail 1st class completely free of charge within UK.
Once you have received your Deed Poll kit, you should get it signed and witnessed in accordance with our guidance notes supplied to you with the order kit.