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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Changing 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 two ways. It can be changed by agreement between both parents or 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.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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