Many people believe that they have a right to change their child’s name if they have sole custody. However, this is not always the case. Say that you have both sole legal and physical custody and you are approaching the courts with the request to change your child’s last name to yours – you probably won’t be able to, provided the other parent still has a close and loving relationship with your child. Your odds will only increase when you can show that your child will benefit from having their last named changed, such as in cases where they have made the request themselves.
Steps to a Last Name Change
So, then, you may be wondering how you can change your child’s last name when you are left with few other options. We can help you understand your choices in the matter.
Permission: Of course, perhaps one of the easiest ways to change your child’s last name is to ask the other parent for permission. You want to make sure that you listen to your ex-spouse’s feelings at the time but also stand your ground and confirm with him that it is in your child’s best interests. Perhaps, if this doesn’t work, you could always agree to a hyphenated name change.
Go to Court: If your ex objects, which is always a reality, you still have a choice: You can take these matters to court. You want to go to the courthouse where your custody order was issued to do this. From here, you can work with your attorney to fill out all the paperwork involved in a legal name change and file your documents so that you can be pushed through to a hearing where the judge will listen to your reasons.
If the other parent objects to the name change, you will both discuss the amount of contact that your child has with the other parent and why you believe it is a good idea to go through with it. You may want to be able to show how much time the other parent spends with your child, if they have been paying child support, or a statement that your child wants to have their name changed. Talking about why it is in the child’s best interest is the best way to move forward.
At the Law Office of Soheila Azizi & Associates, we care about your rights in these matters and want to help you and your child get the most out of your case. If you have questions regarding your child after divorce, we can help. Call us for more information.