I’m 17 and pregnant, what are my rights regrding my child’s last name?

My boyfriend is seventeen also. My mother and I want my son to have my last name for now but if he and I get married, my last name will change along with my sons. My family and I will be the supporters, not he or his family. But he is threatening me saying that he will just have it changed at court because that’s what his parents did. I need a legal standpoint on what can happen if he tries to go to court and if there would be any complications if I tried changing my sons last name later on.

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are not married at the time the child is born then you are the babies only legal guardian.  The father can, though, establish paternity after birth and ask the court to legally change the birth certificate including the child's last name.  Changing the child's name at any time will require the consent of both parents.  Why not hyphenate the baby's name using your and the father's last name in order to make things less complicated?  That is always an option.  Good luck and congratulations.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.