Change of name
Updated 12 March 2020
Words you may need to know
Defraud – swindle , cheat, rip off
Deed Poll/ Statutory declaration – this is a legal document that says what your name is
Affidavit – this is a sworn statement, a legal document
Consent – agreement
Retrospective – you can go back before the date mentioned
1. Statutory Declaration
In the UK the Statutory Declaration Act 1835 allows for a declared name change. The same sort of declaration can be used in Jersey. For some purposes a statutory declaration of name change is enough evidence but not for legal purposes. The declaration needs to be drawn up by a lawyer. It needs to be signed (in your new name) and witnessed by a lawyer or notary public. A notary public is a legal person who can certify your declaration.
You may need to produce your birth certificate. You should find out the cost for such a declaration from the lawyer or notary public beforehand, but the cost should be no more than £50 - £100.
2. Deed Poll
For some legal reasons, a name change must be in the form of a Deed Poll, which is a statement on a specific form signed, witnessed, and passed by the Royal Court. The Deed Poll is then registered at the Judicial Greffe at a cost of £60. The staff at the Judicial Greffe can give you guidance and support on how to get a Deed Poll, but they are not allowed to give legal advice on the effect a name change might have on wills, houses, land etc.
There are what is called Practice Directions concerning applications for registration of deeds poll, issued by the Royal Court at https://www.jerseylaw.je/courts/Pages/RC-05-26.aspx
3. Children (young people under 18 years)
Any child born in Jersey after the coming into force of that Law should have been registered under the provisions of the Loi (1842) sur l’Etat Civil or its successor, the Marriage and Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001 which came into force on 1 May 2002. A child born elsewhere would have been registered in accordance with the law of its birth place. Save in a very unusual case where a child has not been given a first name at the date when it is registered, the registration will record the surname and the given names. Those names as entered in the register are the child's legal names, and they are the names under which the child should be registered at the school.
4. Statutory Declaration
A child or young person under 18 years cannot change their surname without both parent's agreement (unless illegitimate in which case just the mother's if she is the only person with parental responsibility). If one parent is not available to give consent, perhaps having left the family home without leaving an address, then the other parent can swear an affidavit giving reasons to do away with the absent parent's permission. This would need papers prepared by a lawyer and witnessed by a notary public. If the child is the subject of a Residence Order the surname of the child cannot be changed without the agreement of everyone who has parental responsibility.
5. Deed Poll
You may feel that you want your child's change of name registered by the Royal Court by means of a Deed Poll. Again, consent of both parents (unless illegitimate in which case mother alone if she is the only person with parental responsibility) is needed for this procedure (or a declaration (affidavit) that one party is not available to give consent). Legal advice may be needed.
6. Name change when mother marries/re-marries
If the name change is wanted because of a change in your family circumstance it may be necessary to consider the birth registration. It could be that the child or young person was registered under the surname of the mother whilst legally married to a man who was not the child's father. The mother may wish the child to take her maiden name, or to take the name of their actual father (with whom the mother may have established a relationship). In this situation it is possible to declare the child illegitimate (with the husband's or former husband's consent). If the mother marries the child's natural father the child can be re-registered in his name. See 8.30.32.L3 Re-registration of birth on marriage of natural parents. If the mother marries a new husband and wishes him to adopt her children, see 8.30.55.L3 Adoption.
7. Birth certificates
Birth certificates cannot be changed except in the specific circumstance of a re-registration (see above at 8 ) following the marriage of natural parents. After baptism or christening, if the baptismal name is different, this information can be included on the birth certificate, in the space provided on the certificate.
The Marriage and Civil Status [Amendment No 2][Jersey] Law 2008 came into force on the 31st October 2008 and allows parents , both married and unmarried, to choose any surname for their children when registering the birth of a child. The amendment is retrospective so that parents of children under the age of 18 years can also take advantage of it and re-register the birth of their child, giving then a new surname. There is a fee of £50 to re-register a birth as well as the cost of the new birth certificate.
8. Name change on marriage
Many women choose not to take their husband's name these days and there is no legal requirement for them to do so. Legal (e.g. property) dealings need both married and maiden names, so the use of the maiden name alone is not a problem. Difficulties can sometimes arise with travel, however. The woman can have a statement put in her passport that the holder is Mrs.... ..., or make sure the name in the passport is what she is legally known as. Don’t forget that airline tickets must be booked in the name shown in the traveller's passport. See change of name by deed poll.
9. Going back to your maiden name or unmarried name- If you have gone back to your maiden (unmarried) name, you must include the following with your passport application:
- your birth certificate, or decree absolute if it shows the link between your present name and your maiden name
-a signed statement from you, saying that you have gone back to your maiden name and that you will use this name for all purposes