LEGAL EAGLE: How can I change my son’s surname?

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When my son was born I gave him his Dad’s surname. I have since separated from his father and he never has any contact with our son.

I want to change my son’s surname so that it’s the same as mine, can I do this?

A. You can change your son’s surname before he turns 16, but if his Dad shares parental responsibility he must agree to this change.

You will need to speak to your ex-partner and ask him if he will agree to the change of surname in writing.

If his Dad does not agree then you will need to apply to the court for an order which allows you to change your son’s surname.

The courts are often reluctant to change a child’s name where the parents do not agree with one another about that change.

When considering an application to change your son’s surname, the court will always base its decision on what they believe is in your son’s best interests.

If your son is old enough to voice his opinion the court will listen to his wishes, however this does not necessarily mean that the court will agree with your son.

Even if your son would like his surname to be changed the court may decide against it.

Normally, requesting a change to a child’s surname so that it is the same as one of their parents is not seen as a good enough reason.

You may wish to consider giving your son a double-barrelled surname instead, for example Luke Smith-Jones.

You could ask your ex-partner if he would agree to this as it means your son will keep his original surname but yours can be added to it.

If your son’s Dad will agree to this you should ask him to put this in writing.

If your ex-partner does not agree to a double-barrel surname you can still apply to the court for permission to change your son’s surname.

You may have a better chance of the court agreeing to a double-barrelled surname.

If your ex-partner does not have parental responsibility for your son then it is still a good idea to ask if he will agree to a change of surname.

You can change your son’s surname without his agreement, but there is a risk that his Dad may make an application to the court in the future to reverse this change.