Can I change my daughter’s last name when I get married, even though her father won’t consent?

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Can I change my daughter’s last name when I get married, even though her father won’t consent?

My ex and I were not together when I had our daughter. I had her in one state and he lives in another, so I automatically retained full custody. He hasn’t paid child support with the exception of his tax return being automatically given to me in over a year and he never calls to talk to her. My daughter is 2 years old and she has the last name of her father. I would like to change her last name when I get married, but I know he will never sign anything allowing it because his family will not allow it. What are the laws/statutes?

Asked on August 2, 2012 under Family Law, Wyoming

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Obviously he has legally established himself as her parent even though he is not really "being" her father.  But that is enough here to stop you from legally changing her name. You could, though, legally hyphenate your legal name and her last name.  So look in to that.  At some point in time it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about terminating his rights and having your husband adopt her.  Good luck.

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Obviously he has legally established himself as her parent even though he is not really "being" her father.  But that is enough here to stop you from legally changing her name. You could, though, legally hyphenate your legal name and her last name.  So look in to that.  At some point in time it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about terminating his rights and having your husband adopt her.  Good luck.


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