Exercising Parental Responsibility and Changing a Child’s Surname

The family law solicitors at JMW can provide expert legal advice with regard to the exercise of parental responsibility or the changing of a surname. We are experts in this field and will provide pragmatic, no-nonsense advice to ensure all matters are sorted efficiently and satisfactorily.

Find out more about how the team can help you today by getting in touch. Doing so is easy; simply call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back at a time convenient for you. 

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What Our Clients Say
  • Ms W, Money Laundering

    "I was arrested in 2014 and my case came to court 3 years later in 2017. As a first offender with no knowledge of legal matters nor court proceedings I found myself in the worrying position of not knowing who would best represent me in the specialist field of " Business Crime and Regulation ". With an uncertain future I needed the best representation I could find.

    1) I turned to the Internet to find out more about Sam Healey of JMW Solicitors who was recommended , amongst others , to represent me and challenge HMRC who had brought a Money Laundering case against me. The penalty for this type of crime cannot be underestimated. A custodial sentence and the confiscation of your assets comes as a huge shock. The possible loss of your assets and home require very careful consideration of representation at a time when you are least able to cope with your arrest . Sam Healey's internet profile gave me the advantage of selecting him , above others , to have the expertise to represent me .

    2) At my request , Sam Healey and I were able to conduct the majority of my case using email . Important documents were scanned between us. This allowed me to travel abroad and reduce the time commuting to JMW Solicitors in Manchester during the 3 year period it took to bring my case to court. I had access to fast communication between us , phone access and fewer conference meetings with him and my barrister. This essentially allowed me to continue to live a reasonable quality of life during the long 3 year period it took to bring my case before the Manchester Crown Court.

    3) Sam Healey's ability to explain complex legal situations to me in simple terms and keep me informed of progress with my case are expected by the client. I was not disappointed by him in this area. I can't emphasise this part of client / solicitor work understanding enough. It is essential for the client to feel his / her Solicitor is always fighting their corner and this two way communication confirms that.

    4) Legal Aid supported , I had Sam Healey (a Senior Associate with JMW ) , together with my barrister, fighting my corner on the day of sentencing and this was essential to help me through this traumatic day. Although throughout my case some work was passed to other less qualified legal personnel in the team I came to realise that Sam Healey was always aware of my case. Essential for my peace of mind.

    5) On the day of sentencing Sam Healey had the forethought to request the Judge consider the apportioning of CPS court costs against me in relation to my co-accused. The result of this was that the Judge gave consideration to the extent that I only had to pay a small 9% of the total costs due to my only having one count against me and the majority counts were against my co-accused. This resulted in a payment of £400 ( plus a victim surcharge of £100 ) instead of £2000 ( 50% apportioned of the costs ) that had to be paid by me personally within 6 months following the closure of my criminal court case. There are always hidden costs that are not covered by Legal Aid and it takes a responsible Solicitor to protect you where he / she can from these surprises. Sam Healey looks out for you in this area.

    6) Sam Healey also represents clients with Motoring Offences which is worth noting. I had the misfortune to have my SORN , uninsured car stolen from my home address where it was securely garaged and stored at the close of my case. HMRC give a press release at the conclusion of your case and reveal information regarding the area you reside in which gives an open invitation to thrives to target your home. Sam was quickly able to give me advice as to what I was legally required to do in reporting the theft to the police and DVLA. Although the car has never been recovered , you as the owner must protect your responsibilities regarding your ownership of the car to remain within the law.

    7) Although I have still to go through court to fight confiscation proceedings , levied against me by HMRC which will take me into 2018 , Sam Healey's excellent result of a one year suspended sentence , with no conditions attached , have given me my life back and give me strength to face my uncertain financial future at the age of 69 years.

    8) Sam Healey's handling of my case gives me the confidence to recommend JMW Solicitors as a first class Legal Company to handle complex cases to those everyday legal matters. The Company is sited in the heart of Manchester , a five minute walk to the Manchester Law Courts and easy access to Barrister Chambers , Saint John Street."


  • Lincoln Magistrates Court – Failing to Give Information and Speeding - Disqualification avoided

    I was being prosecuted for two offences, A. For failing to give information and B. Exceeding the speed limit. I procrastinated on dealing with the matter and went into panic mode on the eleventh hour. I Googled and called a considerable number of 24/7 lawyers on the Sunday. I got various responses including call backs up to seven days later. 

    The response from Hojol was extra special. He gave loads of very helpful and informative advise for Free. He advised that "Failure to give information" was a greater offence than speeding and carried the potential of a greater penalty.

    Hojol quoted his fee which was very good value and did not charge a penny more and kept me fully informed throughout.

    He did a fantastic job, he managed to get the court to withdraw the "Failure to give information" and all I got was four points for exceeding the speed limit.

    I highly recommend Hojol, he is a gentleman and nothing short of excellent.'


  • Facebook comment praises Nick Young

    "It has taken quite a while but they kept me informed at every stage, were always professional, positive and took over control of everything so that I didn't need to do anything. Thanks again to you all, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending JMW." 

  • Sally Leonards thanked for her support

    'You have helped us both through an extremely hard and stressful time by removing as much pressure as you could. The communication has been brilliant informing us of every stage. H has come out of this ordeal with a very positive outlook and a future to look forward to.'


  • Fantastic work from JMW Solicitors

    Me and my family went on holiday this year and suffered from food poisoning.  After speaking to the holiday company when we got home and getting nowhere, I saw an ad for JMW Solicitors and decided to give them a call. They were very helpful, and I only contacted them in September this year.  My cheque is now on its way and it's only November!  Fantastic work from JMW Solicitors, would recommend this company to friends and family if needed in the future.  



  • Warm words of praise for the Twisted Spokes team from client Mr J, on the resolution of his case
  • Mr D
  • Thank you for your understanding and compassion

    "I really want to thank you for your hard work and dedication with regard to this case. I feel that you did your utmost to get the best possible result and I am very grateful. Thank you both dearly for your service and help and, most importantly, your understanding and compassion."


    Mrs B, Sheffield

About the Exercise of Parental Responsibility

If a parent is unable or unwilling to act in the best interests of a child, it is sometimes necessary to seek to restrict the involvement they have with that child, together with their ability to make decisions in respect of the child's upbringing and/or to obtain certain information about the child that they would otherwise be entitled to.

A parent’s ability to exercise parental responsibility, whether in respect of decision making, or obtaining information, can only be changed by the court.

There is no scope in law for the court to remove parental responsibility from a birth mother or a married father, unless their legal parenthood is ended by parental order (part of the legal process involved in a surrogacy arrangement) or adoption order, but there are various orders that can be made to restrict a person from exercising their parental responsibility..

Parental responsibility can be removed from other individuals who hold it, or it can likewise be restricted. It is only in extreme and rare circumstances that a court will outright remove parental responsibility from a parent who falls into this category and the court will consider very carefully what measures are proportionate to balance any risk the parent poses to their child, against their and their child’s right to family life.

Orders that restrict the exercise of parental responsibility can also be made in conjunction with other protective orders, such as injunctions, where it is considered necessary to safeguard the child and protect their interests.

Change of Surname

As families evolve, it is common for a situation to arise whereby different members of the family have different surnames and for a time to come when everyone wants to be the same. There are two ways in which this can be done:

  • By completing a valid change of name deed
  • By order of the court (specific issue order)

There are strict rules regarding who can change a child's surname. If only one person has parental responsibility for a child, they can do so - unless the court prohibits it. Where more than one person holds parental responsibility, a change can only be effected by everyone who holds parental responsibility providing their consent, and in default of that consent, an order of the court.

Even if a parent does not hold parental responsibility, they can make an application to the court for an order prohibiting any change by one parent with parental responsibility if they do not agree. If a change is made without the necessary permission - whether from the other parent or the court - the court can, and usually will, reverse the change and in some circumstances can impose costs orders in relation to the proceedings. It is therefore crucial to obtain legal advice beforehand.

The court considers a surname to be an integral part of a child's identity and will closely scrutinise any application for a change. There is clear guidance set out in case law regarding when the court will and will not consider it to be in the interests of a child for their surname to be changed, and this includes a careful consideration of how the child's bonds with all of the adults involved in his or her life can best be respected and maintained. As such, an application should never be made before all of these factors have been carefully considered and addressed, to determine the likely success of an application.

Why Choose JMW?

JMW takes a direct, pragmatic approach to ensure you get the right advice and the outcome you are after. We are highly approachable and will provide top-level support and assistance throughout all of your dealings with us.

We are highly experienced and can assist in even the most complex cases, helping to bring matters to a successful resolution.

Talk to Us

Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help with parental responsibility removal or the changing of a surname. Our approachable and friendly solicitors can answer any questions you may have and you can either call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back.  

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