I want to change my child’s surname, where do I start?

There are many reasons why a person may want to change their child’s surname, whether this be for personal, religious or cultural reasons.  The team here at Perth Family Lawyers can assist you with achieving this.

Whilst it seems like a simple process, changing a Child’s name can be difficult, and we highly recommend that you seek appropriate legal advice from an experienced family lawyer who is familiar with change of name applications.

If both parents agree with changing a child’s surname and the child was born in WA, the process is relatively straightforward, and the parents can jointly sign an application form called “Application to register a change of name (child under 18 years” and submit it to the Western Australian Registry of Birth Deaths and Marriages.  You can review the form by clicking on the link: https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/BDM401-register-a-change-of-name-child-under-18.pdf

If your child was born overseas but is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident and has lived in WA continuously for the 12 months preceding the application, you can apply by completing the form referred to above if both parents agree.

When there is only one parent included in the Child’s Birth Certificate, that parent can similarly apply to change their child’s name by completing the application form.

The process of name changes in the Family Court of Western Australia

If both parents are named on the child’s birth certificate and there is no agreement about changing the child’s name, we recommend you attend our offices for an appointment from an experienced family lawyer to obtain advice, as an application may need to be filed in the Family Court of Western Australia.  Our understanding and friendly team will support you through this process and any application that may need to be made in the Family Court of Western Australia.

The Family Court will take into consideration many factors when deciding whether it is in the best interest of the Child to allow a name change. Some of these are include:

  • The primary reasons for the name change;
  • The effects, both long and short term, of the name change;
  • Identity or cultural issues that may occur if the name changes, or if the name stays the same;
  • Issues that the Child may encounter because of the name change;
  • Whether any relationships are effected if the name changes, or if the name stays the same;
  • The involvement of the parent opposing the name change;
  • The suitability of the proposed variation to the child’s name; or
  • Whether the Child’s extended family, stepfamily or blended family has any impact on the decision.

We cannot stress enough the importance of seeking appropriate legal advice from a Family Lawyer in relation to a name change for your Child if there is a dispute between you and the other parent.  Our team at Perth Family Lawyers can assist you to make the decision that best suits your family and has your Child’s best interest at heart.