CanI give my baby my maiden name even though I’m not divorced yet?

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CanI give my baby my maiden name even though I’m not divorced yet?

The father of my baby is not my husband. We being separated over a year. Or can my baby’s father give the baby his name?

Asked on November 14, 2010 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In a situation where the mother is married, typically the baby will take the father's last name. However, in MA there is no law that says that this has to be the case. In fact, there is no law that requires that the father's last name appear on a baby's birth certificate. Consequently, married parents have the option of giving a baby any last name that they choose. 

Generally, even though your husband is not the baby's father, under the law he is considered to be the legal father.  Until paternity has been established by the court, the baby's biological father has no rights regarding the child - including giving the baby his last name.

Frankly, establishing paternity is something that you need to look into.  It can control not only your baby's last name but child support, inheritance rights, and the like.  You should consult with a family law attorney ASAP to get this all straightened out - both for yours and your baby's sake.


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