Is it possible to change last name of minor child without afather’s consent?

Divorced mother with sole custody of 2 year-old minor child. Is it possible to change minor child’s name to Mother’s maiden name without the consent of the father? Father is alcoholic with a physically abusive temperament. Currently in severe trouble with the law.

Asked on October 2, 2010 under Family Law, Wyoming

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is possible to change a child’s name by petitioning the court for a name change and filing certain paperwork; this process varies from state-to-state. Many times you can fill out the forms yourself. In some states, the natural father’s consent is required; in others, it is not.  And is some you will at least need to show that you have notified, or attempted to notify, the child’s natural father of the child’s name change. The court will consider whether or not the name change is in the child’s best interests (ie the impact such a change will have on the child and what the other parent’s relationship with the child is like). It will thenaccept or deny the petition accordingly. To find out the specific law in your jurisdiction contact the clerk of your local county court or consult with a lawyer directly. 

Note:  Changing the last name of a minor child does not change the identity or legal obligations of the child’s father.


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