If you child was born in Queensland, you can change your child’s name by applying to the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
A child’s surname can be changed as often as once every 12 months however a child’s first name can only be changed once before their first birthday and once between the ages of 1 and 18. If you are changing a child’s name and the child is over 12 years old, you will need the child to consent.
An application to change a child’s name needs to have the consent of both parents registered on the child’s birth certificate. One parent may make an application where:
- They are the only parent on the child’s birth certificate;
- The other parent is deceased. In this circumstance you need to provide a copy of their death certificate with the Application; or
- They have an Order from a Queensland Magistrates Court approving the change of name.
Legal guardians may also make an application to change a child’s name if they have evidence of their legal guardianship. If one guardian is deceased or does not consent, the other guardian could make an application as per points 2 and 3 above, respectively.
An Order from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for sole parental responsibility is not sufficient to change a child’s name, unless the Order also states the child’s name is to be changed to a specific new name. An Order for sole parental responsibility should assist with obtaining an Order from a Queensland Magistrates Court.
How do you get an Order from a Queensland Magistrates Court?
An application must be made to the Queensland Magistrates Court requesting an Order be made for the change of the child’s name from their current name to their proposed new name.
When considering whether the proposed change of name for a child should be ordered, the Magistrate must be satisfied that:
- The name is not prohibited; and
- The change is in the child’s best interest.
When considering whether a proposed change of name for a child is in the child’s best interest, the Magistrate may consider the following:
- The name of previous changes of the child’s name;
- The views of the child’s parents or guardians on the change of name;
- The child’s views on the change of name;
- The likely impact of the change of name on the child; and
- The child’s cultural, ethnic or indigenous background and whether the change of name is likely to adversely impact the child’s cultural, ethnic or indigenous identity.
If the other parent does not consent, the parent applying will need to serve their application on them and the Magistrate will hear and consider both of their views.
You have an Order from the Magistrates Court, now what?
You may complete the application and submit the Order and the required documentation to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The child’s change of name will then be recorded on their birth certificate.