How do you change a child's name?


Sometimes parents or a parent of a child wants to change the child’s name. A change of name often arises when the primary parent of a child remarries or re-partners and wants the child to share the same surname as the rest of the family or other siblings.

A child’s name can be changed in 2 ways:

  • By agreement between both parents;
  • By a Court Order.

Changing a child’s name by Agreement:

A child’s name can be changed by agreement if:

  • The child was born in Victoria or if born overseas has lived in Victoria for at least 12 months;
  • Both parents consent to the change of name;
  • The child consents to the change of name if the child is at least 12 years old;
  • The appropriate application form from Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria is completed and signed by the parents and the child (if the child is at least 12 years old);
  • The completed application form, any required documents and the payment of the appropriate fee are lodged with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria;
  • Upon the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria agreeing to the name change then a new birth certificate for the child will be issued.

Changing a child’s name by Court Order:

A child’s name can be changed in Victoria when one parent does not consent to the change of name if:

  • The child was born in Victoria or if born overseas has lived in Victoria for at least 12 months;
  • The Court approves the change of name;
  • The child consents to the change of name if the child is at least 12 years old;
  • The appropriate application form from Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria is completed and signed by the applying parent and the child (if the child is at least 12 years old);
  • The completed application form, any required documents and the payment of the appropriate fee are lodged with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria;
  • Upon the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria agreeing to the name change then a new birth certificate for the child will be issued.

The required Court approval is a Court order approving the change of the child’s name. A Court will only make an order approving the change of name if it is in the best interests of the child. The matters that a Court takes into account when considering if to make an order to change a child’s name include:

  • Any embarrassment that the child is likely to experience if the child’s name is different from the name of the parent that the child normally lives;
  • Any confusion of identity for the child if the name is or is not changed;
  • The relationship that the child has with the other parent.

It is important to note that a sole parental responsibility order will not be enough to change the name of a child without the consent of the other parent. A specific order is required.

The requirements to obtain a Court order to change a child’s name are very technical and it is important to have advice from experienced family lawyers to ensure that you have the best chance of obtaining a Court order approving a child’s change of name.

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