Publications - Family law

Registering Births, Choosing and Changing Names

For each child born in Queensland, a responsible person must give notice, in approved form, to the registrar within 2 working days after the birth. The definition of a ‘responsible’ person is outlined in section 5 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 2003 (Qld).

The birth of a child must be registered in Queensland if the child is born in Queensland or a Queensland court finds that the child was born in Queensland and makes an order in that regard.

A birth registration application must state the child’s name. If the application only states 1 name for the child, the name is taken to be the child’s surname.

If the name stated on the application is a prohibited name, or if the registrar is satisfied that the parents cannot agree on a name, or no name is stated in the application, the registrar can choose the name for the child and enter it in the register provided that the registrar gives the parents 14 days written notice of the registrar’s intention to do so.

In the event that the parents cannot agree on a name for the child, either parent may apply to their local Magistrates Court to decide the child’s name and the court may choose a name, other than a prohibited name, for the child and order that the name be entered in the register of births for the child.

In order to change a child’s name, both of the child’s parents must apply in the approved form to register a change of the child’s name in the change of name register. 

However, in some circumstances one parent can apply to have the child’s name changed. This includes:

  • where there is only one parent entered in the relevant child register or shown on the child’s birth certificate; or
  • if the other parent is dead; or
  • if a Magistrates Court approves the change of name.

For more information in the meantime, contact Richard Callaghan from our Family Law Team on 07 4911 0500 or visit


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