Home About Us Services
Business Services Personal Services
Our People Seminars Careers Contact Us

Can I change my child's surname after separation?

Written on the 18 July 2014 by Matthew Carney

Changing your child's surname in NSWThe naming your child is a fundamental right that has been recognised by the United Nations. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child states a 'child shall be entitled from birth to a name and nationality'.

It was stated by the Family Court in the case of Chapman v Palmer that an adult may use any name by using of such name and becoming known by it. For an adult the surname that you choose is not a matter of law but a matter of repute.

If you and your former partner agree to change your child's name the Family Court has confirmed that you have the same right to change your child's surname as you have to change your own. Your child does not need to be given your surname or the surname of your former partner, but whatever name is chosen it must be established by reputation and use. Any change of name should always be registered however as it will likely cause significant difficulties for your child later on in life if it is not.

In NSW if you and your former partner agree to change your child's name, to implement the change of name both parents must complete and register an "Application for a Change of Name" with a Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.

We are often asked however what happens if you and your former partner do not agree on what surname your child should use?

Since the enactment of the Family Law Act there has been significant litigation by parents about what surname their child should use. This often happens following separation or upon a parent choosing to use the surname of a new partner.

A Court can make Orders to restrain and prohibit you or your former partner from using a specific surname and may also make Orders requiring you or your former partner to ensure that your child is known only by a specific surname.

If your family law matter comes before the Court for an application to change your child's name the factors that a Court will take into consideration are:

  1. The welfare of your child – this is the paramount consideration;
  2. The advantages, both short term and long term, which accrue to your child if their name remains as it is;
  3. The short and long term effects of any change to your child's surname;
  4. The time that your child has with both you and your former partner;
  5. The degree of identification that your child has with each parent and also any other children of you and your partner;
  6. Any embarrassment likely to be experienced by your child if their name is changed;
  7. Any confusion of identity which may arise for your child, if their name is changed or not changed; and
  8. The effect of frequent or random changes of name and if there has been changes of your child's name in the past.

All change of name applications are decided on a case by case basis. The best interests of your child will always be the primary consideration and will override the wishes of both parents. While the wishes of your child must be taken into account, the best interests of your child in consideration of the above factors will determine whether an application is successful.


If you have any further questions in relation to changing your child's surname, or  any other family law matter, please call Matthew Carney on 1800 994 279 or email him. A member of our Family Law Team will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.

- Matthew Carney
   Family Lawyer

Matthew Carney - Family Lawyer

Lawyers in Newcastle - Family Law


Author: Matthew Carney
Publications

Employment

Employers need to get ready for the new National Employee Standards

Written by Gavin Hanrahan, Partner - The 1st of the National Employment Standards (NES) is that which provides that the maximum weekly hours are 38 hours for full-time employees (or if the employee works less than 38 hours per week, then their ordinary hours of work in a week), subject to reasonable additional working hours.   ...

Read More ...

How should employees give notice when they are sick?

When determining how employees should give notice when they are sick, there are two main points to consider: the employer can via a policy (written or verbal) regulate the nature of the notice to be given e.g. – the employee has to speak (not text or email) to the HR manger before 8.30am;
it makes sense for the pol...

Read More ...

10 Rules for Executives to Follow When Confronted with a Disciplinary Meeting

  Disciplinary meetings can be stressful and demanding for both executive employees and employers. Indeed, many employees have never had to attend a disciplinary meeting and many employers have never had to conduct one. In these circumstances, where one or both parties are inexperienced, it is common for either party to make r...

Read More ...

Unfair Dismissal Maximum Compensation Explained

The preferred method of resolving an unfair dismissal claim, under the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009, is the reinstatement of the employee (which includes back-pay) to the position they were previously in or into a new position that is deemed to be similar to the previous one. Similarity is defined by hours, responsibi...

Read More ...

The Unfair Dismissal High Income Threshold Explained

The high income threshold for unfair dismissals refers to the highest possible income an employee can have, unless they are covered by an award or enterprise agreement, before they are excluded from making an unfair dismissal claim against their organisation. This threshold applies under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and changes every year on ...

Read More ...

| 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | Next


Articles via RSS rss
Events
Buying or Selling Property - Everything you need to know!

Wednesday 26th Nov 2014
Time 6:00pm - 7:30pm 26th Nov


Blogs
"Thank you very much for your prompt and profess...

Phil G

Home Bookmark Site Print Tell a Friend Contact UsLinked In Twitter Facebook enquiries@turnbullhill.com.au