Changing a child’s name requires consent of both parents. If consent is not given, then changing a child’s name requires a court order. The determination of whether a child’s name should be changed will depend on the circumstances of each case. The court will examine what is in the child’s best interests in making its decision.
The landmark case of Chapman and Palmer (1978) outlines factors that the court will consider in determining what is in the best interests of the child. These factors include the short and long term effects of any change on the child, any embarrassment likely to be caused to the child if their name is different from the parent they live with, any confusion of identity that the child may experience if their name is changed or not changed and the effect any change may have on the relationship between the child and the parent whose name the child bore during the marriage.
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