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Planning to change your name or your child's name? Follow these simple steps

The McKinstry Company have had a number of enquiries recently from clients wanting to change either their name or their child’s name. There is often an assumption this must be done by “Deed Poll”, however, that only applies in England. In Scotland, it is comparatively simple although the process differs depending on age. The starting point for anyone is to simply start using the new name and build up a history of use of that name, (for example, having bank accounts or utility bills in the new name will help if evidence is ever required).

How do I change my name in Scotland?

If you are over age 16 and want to change the name on your Passport, an application with supporting documentation will be required. If this is following marriage, a copy of the Marriage Certificate and some history of use of the name should suffice. If you are not married and want your Passport changed, or if you wish to go even further and change your Birth Record, then an Application to the National Register of Scotland is required.

Changing my child’s name

A very common situation is where a parent wishes to change a child’s name following separation from their spouse. If the child’s registered name differs from the name they use on a daily basis then difficulties can arise, such as problems with bureaucracy at school or getting registered with a Doctor. It can also be confusing for the child who may feel they have “two names”.

An application to change the name of a child under 16 on a passport or birth record requires the consent of both parents if both have parental rights and responsibilities; if only one has such rights and responsibilities, then only that parent must consent. The easiest way to check this is to see who is named on the child’s Birth Certificate – if both parents are named, both will have parental rights and responsibilities.

What happens if one parent refuses to consent to the name change?

If the absent parent refuses to consent (or cannot be found), a practical solution is for a Statutory Declaration to be signed on the back of the Birth Certificate by the consenting parent. This will not be enough to obtain a new Passport or change the birth record, but it should be enough to resolve most practical day to day situations.

This whole process can be relatively quick and easy, and The McKinstry Company can help at every step. Often only one visit to the office to sign the relevant forms will be required, and we will do everything else for you.

Contact Us

If you need legal advice regarding the process of changing your or your child’s name, contact one of our specialist solicitors today via our online contact form.

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