FAMILY LAW

Changing a child's name in cases of domestic abuse

Now, more than ever, increasing numbers of parents are suffering from domestic abuse. Many of these parents may be distressed that their child has the same name as an abusive former partner and that this may have an impact on the child.

Usually, parents who apply for a child’s name change by deed poll have to provide consent from everyone with parental responsibility. Victims of domestic abuse will, undoubtedly, have fears about their potential safety, as well as the safety of any children if they have to contact the former partner to ask for their consent. There are ways, however, of making an application for a child’s name change without gaining the consent of the other person with parental responsibility.

The deed poll service will accept an application without  consent where the applicant has good reason not to acquire it. This includes where the applicant is fearful of contacting the other parent because of past abuse towards themselves or the children; where the other parent is in prison for a serious offence such as murder, rape or other sexual offence and; where the court has issued a No-contact or Non-molestation order.

There is, however, no guarantee with the issue of a deed poll without parental consent from both parents that all official record holders will change the child’s name records. The only way to guarantee this is to apply for a court order.

Parents can apply to the court for an order to change the name of the child without the consent of the other person with parental responsibility. The court will give permission if it believes it will be in the child’s best interests to allow the name change. The court will take into account the degree of commitment of the other parent to the child and the quality and frequency of the contact between the other parent and the child.

It is, therefore, possible to change a child’s name without the consent of the other person with parental responsibility in cases of domestic abuse.

About the authors


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Samantha Jago

Partner

Advises on family law matters including high value divorce, cohabitation disputes, children matters, pre and post nuptial agreements and domestic violence

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