When the parents of a child separate, the child will retain the surname listed on their birth certificate. This is usually the father’s surname.
Where a mother has remarried or has reverted back to using her maiden name, a parent may want to change a child’s surname. This is particularly the case where the parent feels that the child will feel left out of the family if their mother and half-siblings have a different surname to them.
Obtaining Consent to Change a Child’s Surname
Both parents must consent to the child’s surname being changed or the surname can be changed pursuant to a Court Order. Changing a surname by consent involves both parents completing an Application to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages requesting that the child’s surname be changed.
Conflict can arise where one parent informally changes the child’s surname they are known by, for example at school, without reference to the other parent. Where the other parent does not consent to the name change, a parent can make an application to the court.
Factors which may be considered by the Court
In deciding whether to make orders permitting the change of name, the court’s primary consideration will be the best interests of the child. Factors which may be considered by the court in making their decision may include:-
- the short and long-term effects of changing the child’s surname;
- whether the change would have an impact on the child’s relationship with the other parent;
- how much time the child spends with the other parent;
- the relationship the child has with each parent;
- in some circumstances, the wishes of the child.
Our firm can provide specific advice and assistance with respect to your particular circumstances whether they involve:-
- making an application to the court to change a child’s surname;
- responding to an application to change a child’s surname; and
- making an application to the court to prevent the other parent from informally changing a child’s surname.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries in this regard or for any other matter that we may be able to assist you with.