Change of name Deed Poll guidance If you are under 18, your legal name is the one on your birth certificate unless you have a legitimate Deed Poll (*more on this later - there a loads of illegal ones) or you were adopted & given a later Birth certificate, signed by the Registrar, changing your name to that of your adoptive parents. No matter what name you have on your bank account & passport, your legal name is the one in the above paragraph. Where a lot of people come unstuck is when their parents separate - very often the child(ren) stay with Mum, who reverts to her maiden name - the children do not unless it's the given name on their Birth Certificate. Often it's assumed that if Mum & Dad get divorced, the child's name assumes that of their Mother - it doesn't & often people get passports/bank accounts in the wrong name. Why is it important? Because you have to join in your legal name because you sign a legally binding contract - if you sign in the wrong name the contract is void. To change your name under 18, you must have both parents names on the change of name Deed Poll unless one parent is deceased or the Father was not named with the Registrar when your Birth was registered soon after you were born. If your Mum or Dad has a signed piece of paper from the court stating he or she has "parental responsibility/sole legal custody*text deleted*"(which is very seldom granted unless one parent is deemed by the court legally incapable of looking after you now or in the future), then one signature is acceptable. *For those under 18, the deed poll itself must have the signatures indicated above, the original name, the new name, a signature from a certified commissioner of oaths (usually a solicitor) with an official stamp & date. A commissioner of oaths will usually charge about ?40-?50 - the tip is to shop around. Those over 18: the deed poll itself must have your signature, the original name, the new name, a signature from a certified commissioner of oaths (usually a solicitor) with an official stamp & date. Those who are not in touch with a separated parent are advised to wait until they are 18 if the parent cannot be found or will not sign the deed. *text deleted*Those who have parental responsibility (sole legal custody) over the child must consent to the change of name, and so must the child themselves if they are over 16. Parental responsibility is a legal term and it means having "all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to the child and his property". A mother of a child in the UK automatically has parental responsibility for her child from the moment he or she is born, but it is slightly different for fathers. If the child's father was married to the mother at the time of the birth, or subsequently marries her, then he too will have parental responsibility for the child. (In Scotland the father will have parental responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time the child was conceived; in Northern Ireland subsequent marriage has no effect, but from April 2002 an unmarried father named on the child's birth certificate does have parental responsibility). An unmarried father can now (from 1 December 2003) also obtain parental responsibility if he registers the birth of his child with the mother. If a parent has parental responsibility then his/her consent must be obtained, whether or not he/she is living with the other parent and/or the child. If this consent cannot be obtained then it is possible to change the child's name, but only with the permission of the court. Unmarried fathers - If the father of a child is not married to the mother then, apart from in NI (see above), he will not have automatic parental responsibility for his child. However this can be acquired through an application to the court, subsequent marriage (not in NI), or by a formal agreement with the mother. An unmarried father can now (from 1 December 2003) also obtain parental responsibility if he registers the birth of his child with the mother. Beware getting ripped off with dodgy on-line schemes. It is not uncommon for Careers Advisers to have to inform an applicant, they aren't who they think they are with regard their legal names - it generally causes lots of upset with angry parents thrusting bank statements, NHS Cards, National Insurance Cards & Passports with incorrect names as "proof" of the correct name. As stated unless the rules above are observed, you will join in the name on your Birth Certificate. Common mistakes include: Incorrect Deed Polls printed off the internet with missing signatures, dates or/& stamps.