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Changing a child’s forename

June 4, 2013 Speech Box

I am often asked by parents, who are separated or divorced, whether they are able to change their child’s forename (as opposed to his/her surname) or whether they require the other parent’s consent. The Court of Appeal has given some detailed guidance on the legal position, stating that

  1. Once a child’s name has been registered that name stands indefinitely unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  2. However no order of the court can prevent one parent from using another name (not the one registered) at home.
  3. When a child has been registered for the NHS or other agencies when a birth certificate is not required, the primary carer can use “the given name that is customary in the primary home”.

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