If I’m having my first child but the father and I are not together, what are my rights when it comes to the baby’s last name?

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If I’m having my first child but the father and I are not together, what are my rights when it comes to the baby’s last name?

If the baby takes his last name does that mean he can just take him whenever he wants? Or if he signs it. does that give him equal rights? What can I do to protect myself and my new born?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you are not married to the father of the child then legally you are the child's only legal guardian.  He can indeed establish that he is the father and then obtain custody and visitation rights to the baby but that does not mean that you will lose your rights.  What you can do is to seek help from an attorney to establish your custodial rights to the baby.  But please, this is a very emotional time and you need to take care of you and the baby.  Planning is one thing but do not panic about it.  Good luck and congratulations.


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