A child’s name cannot be changed without the other parent’s agreement or a Court order. The Court will only allow a change of name if it is in the child’s best interests. One example might be when there is no contact with the father. Otherwise such an application is seldom successful.
Registering a birth
A child born in New South Wales must be registered within 60 days of birth in the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Both parents are responsible for having the child’s name registered and both parents must sign the birth registration form. Sometimes the registrar may accept the birth registration statement from only one parent if satisfied that you are not able to get the signature of the other parent.
A biological father’s details can be added to a birth certificate later if the father completes a statutory declaration or if a court is made regarding parentage.
Changing a child’s name
If both parents’ names are on the birth certificate usually both parents must apply for a name change. One parent may take the application if the application is the only parent named on the birth certificate. Otherwise, children’s names can only be changed if both parents agree or by a court order.
Children aged 12 years and over must agree to the name change.
If you cannot agree about changing your child’s name you must apply to the Family Law Courts or your Local Court for an order under the Family Law Act 1975 (Commonwealth) .
Either parent can apply to the court for an order seeking permission to change the name (if the other parent will not agree) or stop (restrain) a parent from registering a different name for a child.
The court will make its decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. For example, the court may look at the embarrassment a child may suffer because they have a different name from the parent they live with, or the possibility of the child being confused by the name change. However, if both parents have a relationship with the child, the court rarely orders a name change.
If you would like us to help you with a name change issue please contact us.