Family & Divorce

Changing Your Child’s Name Following a Final Parenting Order

TGB family lawyer Charissa Duffy outlines how to go about changing your child's name following a final parenting order.

TGB family lawyer Charissa Duffy outlines how to go about changing your child’s name following a final parenting order.

If you are considering changing your child’s name and both parents are in agreement about the name change, then it can be as simple as jointly filling out a ‘Born in South Australia Register a Change of Name Application’ form and submitting it to the Consumer and Business Services office.  If only one parent is named on the child’s birth certificate then this Application could be completed by only one parent.

However, if the other parent does not agree with your proposed name change for your child, you would need to either try mediation and if no agreement can be reached then you would need to seek a Court Order allowing you to register the child’s change of name.

If you already have a final parenting Order from the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia the choice of the Court you choose to make your application for permission to register your child’s change of name is important.

If you already have a final parenting Order, generally both parties are prevented from being able to apply to the Court to vary the Order without good reason to do so (such as a significant change in circumstances of the child that make the Order unworkable or inappropriate).  The Court’s priority is to protect the stability and continuity for children’s routines.  Constant changes to parenting Orders could be very destabilizing for children.  Presuming you are able to overcome that preliminary hurdle then there is the risk that if you apply to the Court about changing your child’s name, the other parent could use their response to apply to amend the existing parenting Order, an outcome that you may want to avoid!

An alternative to this is maybe that you apply to the Magistrate’s Court of South Australia for permission to register a name change for your child.  This application would be less expensive than the Federal Circuit Court (being $138.00 to file the Application with the Magistrate’s Court versus $320.00 for final Order in the Federal Circuit Court).  You would need to serve your Application on the other parent who may then object to your application.  The Magistrate’s Court does not have the jurisdiction to review and/or amend your final parenting Order.

If you have any queries about the process of changing your child’s name, please seek advice from one of our experienced family law team and contact TGB today