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
- Once a child’s name has been registered that name stands indefinitely unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- However no order of the court can prevent one parent from using another name (not the one registered) at home.
- 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”.