You may find it challenging to make the decision to change your child’s last name. You should seek legal advice from a family law solicitor if you want to change your child’s surname after divorce; they can put your mind at ease and support you throughout the process.


A surname change must be approved by both parents if their child is under 18. To enroll the change of surname for minor children, it will be necessary to obtain a court order.


In determining how to change your child’s surname, consider the child’s age. A judge is less likely to permit a name change if the child is under five years old, especially if their other parent’s name is on the change. Since they are so young, removing their surname would likely leave them without a link to their other parent.


The judge will consider the child’s view at age eleven, but at age fourteen, their view becomes more significant. If your child is sixteen or seventeen years old, he or she may request that parents change their name on their behalf or follow the deed poll process themselves.


Parental responsibility is the legal right, duty, power, responsibility, and authority a parent has in relation to their children. It involves making major decisions for the future of the child, such as making choices about their education, their religion, their medical details, and even their surname.

Can I Change My Child’s Surname Without the Father’s Consent in South Africa?

Parental responsibility does not disappear with a divorce. Prior to changing the child’s surname, all parents, including your ex, must consent to the change. If they consent to the change of surname or forename, they must provide it in writing so that the proper documentation can be prepared.


In the event that the child’s other parent refuses to consent to the name change, you will need to apply to the court for permission to change the child’s name. Your child’s best interests would then be considered by the Court when deciding whether the name change should take place.


Get in touch with the team at DocAssist today to find out how we can help you with re-registration of a birth, birth certificate corrections, insertion of a biological father’s details, change of forenames, and change of surname of a minor. 


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