Can I change my children’s last name to mine if the father isn’t on their birth certificate?

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Can I change my children’s last name to mine if the father isn’t on their birth certificate?

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that as long as the father is not listed on the birth certificate, then the mother can change their child's name without his consent since he has no established legal rights. However, if the father were listed on the birth certificate that would be a different story.

That having been said, you will need to go to court to do this. Also, if the father establishes paternity, he could object to the name change. At this point, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in custody/family law matters in order to go over the specific facts of your situation.


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