After a Pasadena divorce, many women decide to go back to using their maiden name as a way to symbolize a fresh start and a new chapter in their life. If you're a woman thinking of going back to your maiden name after your divorce, you may find yourself wondering if you can change the names of your children as well.
Traditionally, courts upheld the opinion that children were required to keep the last name of their father as long as he was performing his proper parental role. Now, however, the situation is a little more complex.
A judge will allow a name change for a minor child if he feels it is in the child's best interests. Factors used to make this decision include:
- The strength and importance of the father-child relationship
- The strength of the mother-child relationship
- The length of time the father's name has been used by the child
- The child's need to identify with a new family unit
If you do want to change your child's last name, keep in mind that the name change is symbolic only. It does not terminate your ex's parental rights, unless the name change comes after your new partner formally adopting your child.
Name changes are a standard part of the adoption procedure, which requires the termination of the biological parent's legal rights. This means that your ex would no longer have to pay child support or be allowed visitation. A stepparent adoption requires the consent of the biological parent or proof that the biological parent has abandoned the child.
When you change your child's name in court, you'll need to get certified copies of the order as proof of the name change. The court clerk can provide assistance with figuring out what documentation is needed to have your child's name changed on his identification, school records, medical records, and other documents.
How Can We Help?
If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena family law attorneys can provide advice regarding issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, or the division of marital assets.