Parents who marry after registering their child's birth

  • When an unmarried couple have a child or children and then marry, they must re-register their children under the Legitimacy Act of 1929
  • Call 0151 606 2020 to make an appointment to re-register. Both partners will need to attend.
  • You will need to provide your marriage certificate, the original birth certificates of your children and a completed re-registration form LA1 (pdf)
  • At this point the child’s and mothers surname can be changed on the certificate
  • Once the changes have been made a new birth certificate will be issued for a fee of £4.00
  • Re-registration is only permitted when the marriage takes place in England or Wales
  • If the marriage takes place abroad, the re-registration form is sent to the General Register Office who will check the legitimacy laws of the country where the marriage took place. We will then write to you to inform you of actions you need to take.

Adding the father or other parent to a birth certificate

  • If you want to include the father or other parent on the birth certificate after the birth has been registered call 0151 606 2020 to make an appointment to re-register. Both parents will need to attend.
  • You will need to provide the original birth certificate and a completed re-registration form GRO 185 (pdf)
  • The baby’s surname can be changed on the certificate at this point
  • Once the changes have been made a new birth certificate will be issued for a fee of £4.00

The Registrar can provide advice on correcting names on any legal records that may have to be processed through the General Register Office.

Changing the surname when only one parent is present

To re-register your child with a new surname, both parents should attend the Register Office.

However, it is possible for either parent to make a statutory declaration, before a solicitor, acknowledging parentage of the child. It is also possible for either parent to seek a Court Order naming the father. In any of these cases the birth will be registered again and certified copies of the re-registered birth can be purchased for a fee of £4.00.

If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the birth and it was decided to give the child the father's surname, you cannot change the surname back to that of the mother. The only alternative would be to consult a solicitor and make a statutory declaration or deed poll changing the surname of the child. This will not change the original birth registration.

The statutory declaration or deed poll document should be attached to the birth certificate and this will provide evidence that the child is being brought up with a surname different to that recorded on the birth certificate.