There is a possibility that the Plano courts might grant a request to change your child’s last name to yours, but only if they think it’s in the best interest of the child. You’ll need to speak with an attorney to discuss how to best present your case and to file a petition.
Divorce Laws Regarding Children’s Last Names
While many children keep the father’s last name after a divorce, there is nothing in the law books that indicates this must be so. The law only clearly specifies that the courts must make decisions based on the best interests of the child.
You and your lawyer can request that the judge grant the name change via a court petition. If the father objects, it doesn’t necessarily shut the case. The judge will look at all the factors surrounding the decision, and then make a judgment based on what he or she believes is in the child’s best interest.
What kinds of factors will the judge consider?
When you file a petition to have your child’s name changed, you’ll have to explain your reasons for making the request. It’ll have to be solid, child-oriented reasons in order to convince the courts to grant the petition.
Having a healthy relationship with both parents is one the court’s primary motivations behind their custody-related decisions. A judge will be less likely to grant a name change if he or she believes it will damage the father-child relationship.
The courts will look at things such as:
- how long the current last name was used;
- the existence of any parental estrangement;
- the child’s desire (the courts might take older children’s wishes into consideration);
- how strong the mother-child bond is;
- how the name change might affect the child’s sense of identity (if the child was abused by the father or was deserted by him, a renewed identity may be welcomed); and
- whether or not the name change will facilitate a new family integration.
Important Details Regarding Name Changes
It’s important to understand that changing a child’s name via court order does not affect any current custody orders. It does not affect the father’s legal rights or visitation. This is a separate process.
Another important thing to know is that your child will have to be on board with the name change idea. Texas Family Code Section 45.002(1)(b) stipulates: “If the child is 10 years of age or older, the child’s written consent to the change of name must be attached to the petition.”
Lastly, the name change process is simpler and easier if it’s part of an adoption. If you are remarrying and your new spouse is going through the stepparent adoption process, your child’s name can be changed as a part of that court order.
Call Warren & Migliaccio in Plano to Draw Up a Petition
We can help draw up a petition and present your case in such a way that highlights the benefits of a name change. If changing your child’s name is in his or her best interest, we will work to demonstrate this to the courts.
For any legal needs regarding divorce, custody, or support, contact Warren & Migliaccio, which serves Plano and surrounding areas. Speak with an attorney today: (888) 584-9614.