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  • Writer's pictureLynchLaw

Changing a child’s surname without the Father’s Consent

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

A person’s name can be changed informally, however, changing a child’s name without formal registration can cause problems down the track.

A child over the age of 12 years must provide consent for a parent to change their name.

When parents have separated, sometimes, the mother wishes to change the child’s surname for varying reasons.

An application to change the child’s surname can be done either by:

1. Application to the Magistrates Court; or

2. Application to the Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia (“FCFCOA”).

Application to the Magistrates Court can be made if there are no issues as to parental responsibility. Otherwise, application to the FCFCOA is made, seeking orders specifically that the child’s surname be changed. Having an order for sole parental responsibility is not sufficient for the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to change the child’s surname.

A supporting Affidavit will be required with the application to the FCFCOA setting out the reasons why a change of surname is requested. The court must be satisfied that the name change is in the best interests of the child and will take into consideration such things as:

1. The contact the child has had with the other parent;

2. Any effect the name change will have on the child;

3. Whether there will be any confusion of identity;

4. The other parent’s wishes;

5. Any advantages to changing the name of the child, both short and long term; and

6. Whether there will be any embarrassment to the child in the name change;

If there is a parenting order already in place providing that both parents share the parental responsibility of the child, both parents are to consent to the changing of the child’s surname. To change the name of the child without the consent of a parent is a contravention of the existing parenting order.

We can assist you with your family law matters. Contact us for further information.

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