I am the father of a child who’s mother I am not married to. She currently has full custody but I am seeking joint custody. Can I ask the court to change the child’s last name to mine?

One concern that many parents face is the issue of whether or not a child who is the product of two unmarried parents can have his or her last name changed to the name of the father. The answer to whether or not this can happen varies on the state that you are living in, and the laws of the state that establishes paternity.

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How to Change Your Name: Accomplishing a Name Change in Your State

A straight-forward adult name change is not a difficult task to accomplish and most people can do it themselves. Legal name change steps typically involve filling out a form, filing it with your local court, paying a fee, possibly attending a hearing, publishing your name change in a local newspaper for a set number of days, and then using the final court judgment to change your name on all of your legal documents.

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Changing My Name After Marrying

Every state has laws that allow for legal name change through the court system and most states follow what is known as the “common law” rule that you can use any name you want as long it is used continuously without “intent to defraud.” Name changes done through the courts are done by filing a petition through the clerk of the court that allows the filing of such requests without the need or use of an attorney.

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