How do yougo about changing the name of a minor child?

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How do yougo about changing the name of a minor child?

My wife and I want to change the last name of her 8 year old. He is from a different relationship and she and the biological father were never married. No legal custodial rights have been awarded. He lives in another state pays no support and has not seen or anything for the child. Can we change his last name to my name without the “other” guy involved or do we have to hunt him down and try to find him?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately the answer to your question is yes, to some extent.  Although your wife has never sought to establish custody or support with the boy's biological father, it does not mean that his rights do not exist.  It is unclear here if he even knows of the child's existence.  If he does and he really does want nothing to do with him it is possible that he may voluntarily agree to terminate his parental rights.  But are you going to adopt the child?  Because the courts do not like to terminate the rights of a child to support, inheritance, etc., unless there is some one waiting in the wings (and the two proceedings can be done at the same time).  Seek legal help. Good luck.


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