Throughout June in celebration of Pride Month, Lewis Chatten of our Family department will prepare a series of articles focusing on specific LGBTQ+ topics in the context of family and child law. This article considers change of name deeds and how these deeds can prove helpful to transgender and non-binary members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Throughout this article, the term “transgender” will be used to describe those who identify with a gender opposite to the gender assigned to them at birth.
The term “non-binary” will be used to describe those whose gender identity does not sit comfortably with the gender assigned to them at birth.
The term “dead name” will be used to describe situations where either a transgender or non-binary person are referred to by their previous name. This can be done in person through face to face conversations, by email or on formal correspondence such as bank statements, driving licences, and passports.
Change of Name Deeds – Adults (16 years and over)
Many transgender individuals choose to change their name once they begin to live in their acquired gender. The same applies to non-binary individuals who are likely to opt for a gender-neutral name. It can be really upsetting to be referred to by a dead-name whether this be done by a stranger, a friend, or a family member.
It is perfectly legal to decide you want to be referred to by a new name and you do not have to follow any legal process however transgender and non-binary individuals may decide to change their name by ‘deed poll’ so that they can change their name on official documents such as their passports, medical records and bank statements.
Change of name deeds are a legal way to change your legal name and status. These documents can prove particularly helpful to avoid any mistaken dead-naming from official organisations such as GPs, airports and banks. Changing your name by deed poll will mean that you can apply for a new passport with your new legal name as well as other formal documents. A change of name deed will not however change your birth certificate.
When opting for a change of name deed it is also possible to change your title. For example, an individual who was assigned female at birth however identifies as a male may change his legal status to “Mr” at the same time as he changes his legal name.
It is important to note that changing your legal name and status will not change your gender as this can only be achieved through receiving a Gender Recognition Certificate, hwever, changing your name and legal status can form part of demonstrating to the Gender Recognition Panel that transgender individuals are permanently living in their acquired gender.
In order for a change of name deed to be formalised it will need to be witnessed by an independent witness for example a solicitor.
Change of Name Deeds – Children (17 years and under)
Parents of transgender and non-binary children may also choose to change their child’s name legally through a change of name deed for the same reasons as an adult may wish to change their own name and status.
In order to change a child’s name all those with parental responsibility will need to consent and agree to the change of name. This deed will also need to be formalised by being signed by an independent witness for example a solicitor.
If all those with parental responsibility do not consent to the change of name, then a formal court order will be required to allow this process to take place.
We Can Help
If you would like to instruct us to draft and execute a change of name deed on your behalf please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated member of our family team.
Legal aid is not available for this type of work however we do offer a very competitive rate of £80 + VAT for adult change of name deeds.
In the event that you wish to change your child’s name and all those with parental responsibility do not consent, please contact us so that we can discuss the court proceedings further. Legal aid may be available for this.
You can call us on 0121 704 3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org