We’ve created a YouTube channel featuring our company mascot Legal Lion™. If you have a name change question, and would like a personal video response, then please email legal lion via the address on YouTube.
Keisha Austin from Kansas City has recently changed her first name to Kylie, due to perceived negative connotations surrounding her former name, and the very real torment that she unfortunately suffered because of it.
As colleagues of a law firm offering a deed poll service, we are often asked the same question by friends and relatives: “why do people change their names”. There is no single answer to this question; as the Daily Mail article proves, the reasons people have for wanting to change their names are extremely diverse, and very personal to their individual situation/life journey.
We find these reasons fascinating, which is why actively we encourage our clients to share their experience with others online. Ultimately, no matter the reason, a name change will nearly always have a fundamental effect on the persons’ life, further defining their sense of self. So it’s a great freedom that we have in the UK to be able to choose a name that suits who we are, and it’s fantastic to see citizens of another country able to avail themselves to a similar, straightforward name change process. Although, the US setup is slightly more complex, due to their legal system, in having to get the name change court stamped.
If you’ve been considering a change in name then there has never been a better time to get started.
In last night’s episode of Eastenders, the storyline surrounding the daughter of Janine Butcher and Michael Moon took a new twist when Janine threatened to change their daughter’s surname from Moon to Butcher.
Michael responded by telling Janine that she wouldn’t be able to change Scarlett’s surname, to which Janine retorted that she could because she had ‘lots of money’.
This is an interesting plot twist because parents, in a similar situation, often disagree over the surname given to their child, but what would happen in real life? Well, the law is very clear when it comes to changing the surname of a child under the age of 15. “Both parents, having equal legal rights, must agree to the new surname, or a court order must be in place.”
So could Janine apply for a court order? Yes, she could instruct her highly paid lawyer to complete and action form C100 (the form used to make an application under the Children Act for a ‘specific issue order’) but a court will only make an order where it is considered to be in the ‘best interests of the child’.
In fact, there is an implicit bias on the side of the courts not intervening because section 1(5) of the Children Act 1989 reads:
“where a court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under this Act with respect to a child, it shall not make the order or any of the orders unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.”
Clearly, Janine’s desire to change Scarlett’s surname is to spite her ex husband (a loving father who plays an active roll in his daughter’s life) so the change in surname from Moon to Butcher would not be considered to be in Scarlett’s best interests.
That is, if it ever went court, which it wouldn’t because a highly paid lawyer would not take on Janine’s case due to the above.
We’ll certainly watch this drama unfold with a keen interest.
If you’re considering changing your child’s name, and need professional legal advice, then you can call 020 3318 0245 to speak to a consultant.
Our previous competition closed last Saturday (16th of February) and the lucky winner has been announced on our website.
So we’ve decided to run the competition again to give even more people the chance to win this fantastic prize.
We’re giving away an Apple iPad Mini and a £25 iTunes gift card! Simply complete an online application between now and the 20th December 2012 for your chance to win.
See here for full details.
We’ve upgraded our website to utilise 256-bit encryption technology to ensure your personal data is safer than ever before. The pages we have protected in this way are those which deal directly or indirectly with the collection of your information, and include our apply now, adult application and child application pages.
Some major aesthetic changes have also been made to our How It Works and Home pages.
We’ve just completed stage two of our website update. You can now find the most up-to-date contact details in the contact us section.
We have also redeveloped our Document Management System from the ground up, this means we’ll now be even better at keeping our clients informed and dispatching paperwork.
An individual might choose to change their name for many reasons. One of those reasons might be to escape a name that has become notorious for any reason. In this category, it is not hard to imagine that this option might be popular with prisoners.
Prison Service Order (PSO) number 4455 states that although there is no legal limitation on the right of prisoners to change their name, the prison service is under no obligation to acknowledge a new name.
So under what circumstances will the prison service accept a prisoner’s change of name? The PSO states that a prison governor will usually accept and officially acknowledge a name changed in specific circumstances such as:
When the request is the result of a change of marital status
When the change of name is on genuine religious grounds. If a prisoner wishes to change his or her name on such grounds, operational managers must obtain the views of the Chaplain (or equivalent) of the relevant faith.
When not to acknowledge the new name may cause severe psychological harm to the prisoner. In this case, medical advice should be sought.
However, governors of prisons are not obliged to accept a name change and can reject any proposed change of name if they have compelling reasons to refuse. This could be seen as important and essential protection against repeated, disruptive name changes. It may also be a concern where public and victim protection is an issue or where the requested name change might compromise security within the prison. Refusal might also be on the grounds that the proposed name change might be deemed to be likely to have a detrimental effect on order or discipline within the prison.
Even if a prisoner is granted the right to be known by a different name (not formalised by Deed Poll) within the prison he or she will normally still be known as the name they had when they were first taken into custody.
Those prisoners requesting to change their names who are under 18 would normally be asked to speak first to their parents or guardians, or to any local authority agency responsible for them, before a final decision was made.
If a prisoner seeks a change of name by Deed Poll then this will normally be accepted as being a genuine desire and valid circumstances for the prisoner to change his or her name and to undertake the legal steps to make that possible. However, it is still possible for the prison governor to refuse the name change. Refusal however, would only realistically be in cases where the name change was considered offensive or obscene.
If a prison governor does refuse a name change then full documentation of the reasons for the refusal has to be entered on the prisoner’s official records.
Whether a name is accepted or not by the prison authorities the PSO states that prisoners should be allowed to send and receive their correspondence in the new name they have chosen to be known by. They are, however, urged to ensure that all correspondence received has their prison number on it as well, to avoid any confusion.
If a name change is accepted by the prison authorities then all the prisoners’ details will need to be changed on all official documentation and the change of name must then be carried forward if the prisoner leaves to be received in another establishment with his or her old name being noted as an ‘alias’. If the change of name is not accepted then no change to documentation need be made.
For prisoners wishing to access a service such as The UK Deed Poll Office (London) Ltd can make their first enquiry through prison authorities or by contacting the site directly.
This morning we’ve made some changes to our website in order to make it easier for our clients to use. This completes phase one of a two phase site update, phase two will be uploaded shortly.
As part of the phase one update, we have now added the option to our order forms for clients to purchase extra copies in ‘bundles’. Bundles are five pounds each and include five copies, an attractive saving over the individual cost price.
If you have any comments on the changes we’ve made to our website then we’d love to hear from you.