Can I Change My Child’s Last Name?
If you are facing a divorce or a paternity case and are considering changing your child’s last name, there is more to the matter than you may realize. To change your child’s last name for any reason other than an administrative purpose – such as if his or her name was recorded incorrectly or if there is missing information on your child’s birth certificate – you will need the approval of a judge. If this is the situation you find yourself in, reach out for the professional legal guidance of an experienced Minnesota family law attorney.
Two Primary Opportunities
The court addresses the matter of legally changing a minor’s last name in two basic ways, including:
- Addressing the matter as part of a paternity or divorce proceeding that involves the child in question
- Addressing the matter in a separate proceeding in which only the minor’s name change is at issue
Your Minor’s Name Change
In order to change your child’s name, there are several legal requirements that must be met, including:
- Your child must have lived in Minnesota for at least six months prior to applying for the name change.
- The application for a name change must be for legitimate purposes and cannot be intended to mislead or defraud anyone.
- Your child’s other parent must know about your intention to change your shared child’s name, and if you don’t know how to communicate with the other parent, you will need to demonstrate that you tried to do so – or that you have a valid reason for not doing so.
Before the court allows a child’s name change, it will carefully consider the best interests of the child involved. If your child’s other parent is not in agreement about the name change, the court is required to exercise considerable caution – and will only allow the requested name change when it clearly supports the child’s welfare.
Best Interest Factors
The best interest factors that the judge hearing your name-change request will consider include:
- Your child’s preference regarding his or her name (if he or she is old enough to weigh in on the matter)
- How long your child has had his or her current name
- The level of community respect associated with both the current and the proposed name
- Any potential difficulties or embarrassment associated with the child’s current or proposed name
- If changing your child’s name would affect the quality of his or her relationship with his or her other parent
If you are considering changing your child’s last name, discuss the matter with a seasoned family law attorney who has considerable experience successfully handling this often-challenging undertaking.
Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Minnesota Family Law Attorney
The skilled Minnesota family law attorneys at Atticus Family Law have the experience, legal knowledge, and drive to help you obtain a legal name change for your child. Your claim is important, so please do not hesitate to contact us for more information today.