In England and Wales, an adult can change their name at any time. This can be their given name, family name or both.
The law does not require adults to follow a procedure to legally change their name. A person’s name arises from use and reputation and so if a person begins using a new name and becomes known by that name, their name is considered legally altered.
Although a person can change their name quite freely, most organisations will require some form of proof that the change has happened.
Usually, most people that change their name prove this by signing a Change of Name Deed. We would advise adults who desire to change their name to record this change in a Change of Name Deed. This can then be used as proof of the change to organisations such as the Passport Agency, the DVLA, banks and building societies.
Where a child is seeking to change their name, the same concept applies where the name change comes about through use and reputation.
However, a child needs the permission of every person with parental responsibility. If it is not received, the change may not be made unless a court gives permission or until the child turns 16. When the child turns 16, they can also reject a name change from those with parental responsibility.
If permission is received from all those with parental responsibility, we would advise that a Change of Name Deed be prepared that records this.
If there is a dispute over the name change of a child, the issue will be referred to the court.
Our highly experienced and proactive solicitors can4+ and certify the copies for you. They pride themselves on a swift and smooth service. We can also assist if any disputes arise over a name change.
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