Make an application to change the surname of a child who’s been placed for adoption (England & Wales)

If you want to change a child’s surname, and you haven’t got consent from everyone with parental responsibility, you’ll need to have a court order allowing the child’s surname to be changed.

When you need to apply for this kind of order

You’ll need to make a “free-standing” application for an order under section 28(2) ↗ of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 ↗ if —

  • you want to change the child’s surnameand
  • the child has been placed for adoption, or an adoption agency has been authorised to place the child for adoption —

    — and

  • an Adoption Order (finalising the adoption) hasn’t been made yet

An “adoption agency” (in England & Wales) can be —

Changing only the first name

If a child has been placed for adoption, or an adoption agency has been authorised to place them for adoption, and you want to change only the child’s first name (and not their surname), then a court order isn’t needed — the adoption agency can make the decision to change a child’s first name unilaterally (by exercising their power to determine the extent to which the parents / guardians / prospective adopters may meet their parental responsibility, under section 25(4) ↗ of the Adoption and Children Act).

How to apply

Forms you need to fill in

You need to fill in form A55 ↗.  You should return the completed form(s) to a court that deals with family matters.  They’re very detailed forms and it’s important that every section is filled in correctly.

Leaflet A55 Notes ↗ contains instructions about how to fill in the form and make the application.

You’ll need to return your completed application form to the court nearest to where the child normally lives.  Not all courts deal with family matters, so you should ask which is the right court (you can ask at your local county court).
☞ Find a court in England & Wales ↗

What it costs

You’ll have to pay a fee of £ 170 to apply for the court order.  (See: Court fees for the civil and family courts (EX50) ↗)

You may be able to get a discount if you’re on specific benefits or have a low income.
☞ Find out if you have to pay court fees (EX160A) ↗
☞ Apply for help with fees (EX160) ↗