Changing a Child’s Birth Certificate

10th July 2023


by Rebecca Woodley, Solicitor

There are sometimes reasons why you may wish, or it makes sense for the future, to change what is recorded on a child’s birth certificate.  There are only limited circumstances in which this can be done.

  • A birth registration can be corrected if there is a mistake i.e. a name has been spelt incorrectly or one of the parents’ occupations is incorrect. It is not possible to change the certificate due to a change in circumstances, this is because the certificate records the facts as they are at the time of the registration.
  • If the natural parents of a child marry or enter into a civil partnership at a later date, then they can re-register the birth of any children they have had together.
  • It is also possible to change the certificate if no details of the father are included initially, or those details are incorrect. You must prove paternity by way of a DNA test, a court order or other evidence clearly showing who the father is. This can only be done with the mother’s consent. If the mother does not consent, the father needs to apply to the court for a Declaration of Parentage.
  • Within 12 months of the registration, the child’s first name can be changed if the child is baptised in a Christian Church with a different name. This can also be done if the child is known by a different first name during that 12 months. In both cases a certificate needs to be prepared for the Registrar.
  • It should be noted that although a change can be made on the birth certificate, the short certificate will show the changed name, but the long form certificate will show both the original name given at birth and the change of name.

We would always recommend taking legal advice before attempting to change a child’s name and the Family Law team at Fraser Dawbarns will be happy to help.

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This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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