Changing a child’s surname
When parents cannot agree on a child’s surname, an application to change a child’s name can be made to the Family Court. The court must have regard to the best interest of the child as the paramount consideration, and this principle stands above the wishes of the parents.
Helpfully a recent decision of the Family Court has summarised some of the factors to be considered when determining these types of issues, they are;
- Would the child experience any embarrassment if their name were different to that of the parent who predominately cares for them?
- Would the child experience any confusion in identity if the name is changed or not changed?
- What may be the effects on the relationship between the child and the parent whose name the child bore during the relationship?
- What is the effect on the child of frequent name changes?
- The level of ‘time / communication’ the other parent is likely to have with the child in the future?
- The degree of identification the child has with each parent?
If you are separated and have concerns about what surname your child should have, call us on 3221 4300 for a fixed-cost initial appointment.