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Section 4 of the Family Law Act (Cth) 1975 considers changing a child’s surname to be a major long-term issue in relation to the care, welfare, and development of a child.
In Queensland, a child’s surname can only be changed with the consent of both parents listed on the child’s birth certificate.
If there is consent by both parents, a joint application to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages can be made. Importantly, if a child is 12 years or older, then the child must also consent to the change of name.
If joint consent cannot be obtained, the parent seeking the name change should obtain independent legal advice as there are certain factors which must be considered.
A single parent may only apply to change their child’s name if one of the following exemptions apply:
It is important to note that a parent with sole parental responsibility under a Family Court order can not apply to change their child’s name unless there is an explicit order from the Court stating that they may do so.
The Court will consider the following factors when making a decision with respect to changing a child’s name:
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