Changing a Child’s Surname After Parent’s Separation

Are you thinking of changing a child’s surname after separating from the other parent? Does your former partner want to change your child’s name? 

After separation or divorce , it not uncommon for a former spouse to want to revert to their maiden name. Other times, that person may want to change their name to their current partner’s name. Where does that leave the children? In most cases, the children will keep their birth name. In some cases, the parents will agree to changing a child’s surname to   include both parent’s surnames (eg. Johnny Smith-Jones).

In other cases there is no compromise and a parent will seek that the child has their name only.

Contact our Brisbane child custody lawyers or our child custody lawyers North Brisbane for practical legal advice tailored to your circumstances if this is your situation.

To officially go about changing a child’s surname on their birth certificate, both parents must apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. In Queensland, this can be done if the child’s birth (or adoption) was registered here or if your child was born outside of Australia but now lives in Queensland. If the birth was registered in another Australian state, you’ll need to contact that state’s registry.

If your child is 12 years or older, the child must also agree to the name change, unless otherwise approved by the court.

If you’re the only parent shown on the birth certificate or if the other parent has died, changing a child’s surname in the registry can be done.

It’s not illegal to start using another name for your child without officially registering the name change unless a court has ordered the child be known by a specific name. However, if a parent is doing this without the other parent’s knowledge or consent, it can reflect poorly on that parent’s capacity to maintain a co-parenting relationship if the matter is brought before a Court.

A child’s name is one of the important areas of parental responsibility which is normally shared by parents. If one parent starts changing a child’s surname without the other parent’s agreement, an application can be made to the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court of Australia for a decision about what name is to be used.

In any case, our child custody lawyers Brisbane and North Brisbane child custody lawyers have the experience to assist you where there is any dispute about changing a child’s surname.

Contact our office at LGM Family Law, if you would like advice particular to your circumstances in this area or need other assistance, whether to obtain parenting orders or a parenting plan. Our child custody lawyers Brisbane (Brisbane CBD office) or North Brisbane child custody lawyers (Grange office) have the experience to advise you regarding your child’s best interests at law and to assist you to resolve your child custody or parenting issues. You are also welcome to a free initial phone consultation with one of our experienced  child custody lawyers in Brisbane.