Can You Change Your Baby’s Name?

It sounds like sacrilege—but humans are totally fallible; even when it comes to bestowing symbolic monikers upon your beloved offspring. So if you do find your baby’s name doesn’t sound as sweet as in-utero—or the grandparents just can’t say it right, here’s how to change it.

Newborn baby

There’s two ways you can approach the name change—unofficially, or officially.

Unofficially, you can, quite simply, start calling your child a different name. As long as the name change isn’t used to deceive or defraud, you don’t need to fill out any paperwork.

The issue of doing it officially comes in with schools and other organisations, who can refuse to call your child by their new name, unless it’s backed up by formal papers.

Another important factor is that if you do not seek agreement from your child’s other parent, they could take legal action if you change the name—informally or formally.

In the UK, you have 12 months from the date of birth registration to change your baby’s name, and only a parent or guardian can request the name change. If your child was baptised, the baptising minister may also have to fill in a form.

If you miss the 12 month window, you will have to change the name via deed poll.

But the birth certificate will remain unchanged, as it is viewed as an historical record. Only in the following circumstances can the certificate be amended:

  • If your child was baptised within 12 months of the birth being registered and given a baptismal name.
  • If a different first name was given and regularly used within 12 months of the birth being registered.

For deed poll forms and further information on name changing, see here.