Changing Your Child’s Last Name

NameChangeCustody battles can be very intense. When you get divorced or work through a custody case there are many issues to deal with, including decision-making responsibility, parenting time, and living arrangements. Some parents wonder whether they can change their child’s last name after a divorce or custody case. This is a particularly common question when the other parent has no decision-making authority and little or no parenting time. Parents also often wonder about this after a parent has failed to utilize his or her allotted parenting time, disappearing from the child’s life.

Children retain their last name after a divorce or custody case. Parents are generally granted the right to revert to a pre-marital name as part of a divorce. When a parent does so, this can lead to a situation where a parent and child have different last names.

A child’s last name can only be changed by a court order. To apply for a name change, you or your attorney must file an application with the court.  The other parent must be notified of the hearing. If your child is age 14 or older, the other parent must sign a notarized statement agreeing to the change or appear at the hearing. If you don’t know where the other parent is, he or she can be served by publication in a paper chosen by the court. A child that is age 14 or older must also consent to the name change. The court will make the decision whether or not to change the child’s name. This is most commonly granted in situations where the other parent has disappeared from the child’s life, has abused the child, or has committed a crime or done something to make sharing the same name uncomfortable.

For assistance with any family law issues you are experiencing, contact the Sampair Group in the Phoenix, Mesa, and Glendale areas today. Our compassionate lawyers are ready to help you.