Parents may change their child’s name for many reasons, most often after a marriage or relationship breakdown. If you want to make the change, the good news is that it’s possible, provided you jump through a few hoops and fill out the appropriate forms to do so.
Ready to get started? Read our simple guide on how to change your child’s last name to find out everything you need to know.
Apply online to change of your child’s name
You can apply to change your child’s name at the Births Deaths and Marriages section of the Victorian Government website using this link.
To complete the form you’ll need the following details:
- Personal details of yourself and the child, such as home address and your child’s place/date of birth.
- Any previous names your child has had.
- A clear reason for the name change.
- The new last name you have chosen.
The Victorian Government will accept most names as long as they’re not offensive, impractical or misleading. Once your application is accepted you’ll receive a new birth certificate with your child’s updated name – usually within seven weeks.
After the change you’ll need to update all your child’s records with their new name including their passport, bank account and school enrolment.
You’ll need the consent of both parents
The form above will take less than an hour to complete and it’s easy to fill out, but there are a few things you’ll need to sort before you get started.
For one, both parents will need to consent to the name change. If the child is 12 years or older they will also need to consent, and you’ll be required to attach a form confirming their consent to your application.
The form can be filled out in sections. Parent one will complete their part first and when that section is completed parent two will receive an email requesting that they complete the second section.
Documents you’ll need to change a child’s last name
If you’ve agreed on the name change with your child and the second parent and you’re ready to get started you’ll need to gather a few documents first.
To submit the application you’ll need:
- Your child’s original Victorian birth certificate (you’ll need to send the original copy).
- Proof of your identity, such as your driver’s licence or passport.
If you can’t, or don’t want to apply online you can also apply for a name change via a paper form. In that case you’ll need to get certified copies of your identification documents and send them – do not send your original IDs.
What if both parents don’t agree?
Unfortunately both parents don’t always agree to changing a child’s name and sometimes one parent isn’t present to do so.
If one parent has passed away you’ll need to provide a copy of their death certificate to proceed. If the child’s birth certificate only names one parent you don’t need the other parent’s consent as long as you can provide the birth certificate.
On the other hand, if the above scenarios don’t apply and both parents can’t agree on a name change you may need a court order to change your child’s name. This process can be quite technical so it’s always best to seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer right away to make sure you get the result you want.
Getting a court order to change your child’s name
If your child was born in Victoria or has lived in Victoria for over 12 months and they consent to the name change you can apply to the Family Court to change their name without the other parent’s consent.
When considering your application the family court will consider a range of factors, including:
- Who the child usually lives with.
- The relationship that the child has with the other parent.
- Any embarrassment or confusion of identity the child may experience having a different name than the parent who they live with.
They will then make the decision that is in the child’s best interest and issue an order for the name change (or deny your application).
Do you want to change your child’s last name? Contact us for honest, expert legal advice from Melbourne locals at Testart Family Law.