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What’s in a name?

It has widely been reported that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are presently in a dispute over the name of their child but what is the position if the parties can’t agree and/ or there is an issue about changing a child’s name in the future?

Ultimately if Kim and Kanye resided in England and Wales then Kim could, as an unmarried mother, take matters into her own hands and register the child with a name of her choosing (no doubt beginning with K). Kanye would be unable to register the birth without Kim’s consent.

If the parties are generally unable to agree on important issues regarding children then they can either consider mediation or if that is unsuitable or unsuccessful apply for a specific issue order ie. for the court to make the decision for them. Any decision by the court will be based on the child’s best interests.

There is a general restriction on a party changing a child’s surname without the consent of all of parties with parental responsibility (which Kanye would not automatically have unless he was named as the father on the birth certificate) but there is no such specific restriction on a forename. If your co-parent did wish to change your child’s forename and you objected then you could make an application to the court for a prohibited steps order to prevent this happening. This would, as above, be subject to the child’s best interests. In my view where a child is known by an established name it would be an uphill battle to convince a court it should be changed.

James Maguire & Co is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.

We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.

We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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