Apply for a Specific Issue Order to change a child’s name (England & Wales)

Family Proceedings Rules Form C43

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

When you need to apply for this kind of order

You’ll need to apply for a Specific Issue Order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 ↗ if —

  • you want to change only your child’s first name (and not their surname); or
  • you want to change your child’s surname, and your child is not subject to any —

    — or all such orders have come to an end (meaning they’re no longer “in force”).

But you cannot apply for a Specific Issue Order if the child —

  • has been placed for adoption (or an adoption agency has been authorised to place them), and an Adoption Order hasn’t been made yet
  • is subject to any Care Order, interim Care Order, or Placement Order

Although an application for a Specific Issue Order is usually said to be “under section 8” (because that’s where the order is defined), technically speaking you’ll need to actually make your application (i.e. commence proceedings) under subsections 10(1) ↗ or 10(2) ↗.

If your application is successful the court will make an order conforming to Form C43 (pictured right).

(See Dawson v Wearmouth [1997] EWCA Civ 2272 (subheading “Jurisdiction”) for a justification of why the application can and must be made for a Specific Issue Order under section 8.)

You should make a free-standing application under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 if the child has been placed for adoption (or an adoption agency has been authorised to place them), and an Adoption Order hasn’t been made yet.

You should make a free-standing application under subsection 33(7) (of the Children Act 1989) if the child is subject to a Care Order (or interim Care Order).

You should make a free-standing application under subsection 13(1) / 14C(3) if you want to change your child’s surname, and your child is subject to —

  • a Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to who the child is to live with, or when the child is to live with any person
  • a Residence Order
  • a Special Guardianship Order

How to apply

Consider family mediation

Before you apply for a Specific Issue Order, you’ll normally have to attend a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), with a family mediator, to find out about family mediation and see if mediators can help resolve your dispute.

In some situations (e.g. if you’re applying for a “consent order”), you don’t have to attend an MIAM, and it’s possible to get an exemption.

If you don’t attend an MIAM, the court cannot process your court application, unless you can show evidence that you don’t need to attend one.

Forms you need to fill in

You need to fill in form C100 ↗ and return it to a court that deals with family matters.  It’s a very detailed form and it’s important that every section is filled in correctly.

If you don’t want the other parent / guardians to know your address, phone number, or e-mail address, you can leave those sections blank.  You’ll still need to give your contact details to the court by filling in form C8 ↗, and including it with the other forms.

Leaflet CB1 ↗ contains detailed 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 your 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 ↗

When there’s harm involved, or a risk of harm

You’ll also have to fill in form C1A ↗ if you believe your child has suffered (or is at risk of suffering) any kind of harm by any person who’s been involved in caring for your child, or who lives / has contact with them.

This includes any kind of harm from —

  • any form of domestic abuse (whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional)
  • violence within the household (including any threatening behaviour)
  • seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another person
  • child abduction
  • drugs, alcohol or substance abuse
  • other conduct or behaviour

Leaflet C1A (Notes) ↗ contains instructions on how to fill in the form.

What it costs

You’ll have to pay a fee of £ 215 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) ↗