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  1. #1
    divmom is offline Junior Member
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    Question With sole legal custody can I change my daughter's last name w/o father's permission?

    What is the name of your state? Massachusetts

    I have a 2 year old daughter who I had with my ex husband. When he and I were divorced I was given full sole legal and physical custody of her with no visitation rights for him based on his documented drug use, incapability to show up to court dates, and over all uninvolvement with our daughter (she doesn't know who he is). At the time I decided to keep my married name rather than reverting back to my maiden name because I wanted to have the same last name as my daughter. Since the divorce he has rarely paid child support, has been in contempt of court and was even sentenced to a stay in jail because of being a dead beat (which he managed to get out of). I know he is living out of state now and other than getting a check from him once in a blue moon his where about has been pretty unknown. I am now pregnant again and I am unmarried to the father with no intention of getting married to him. I really would like to be able to have the same last name as both of my children but I don't want my soon to be born child to have my ex-husbands last name. I was wondering if I could change my name back to my maiden name and have my daughter's last name changed to that as well so when the baby is born we could all have the same last name. I know my ex-husband would not give his consent for me to change my daughter's last name nor do I even know how to reach him. Since I have full sole legal custody is there any way for me to change both mine and my daughter's last name without getting my ex's permission?
  2. #2
    Peanuts200788 is offline Member
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    I want to say you still need his permission, but let some of the other more experienced members give you a 'FOR SURE' answer...

    I would think if his name is on the birth certificate AND you guys were married and all he's the legal father, and would have to be consulted, but there again I could be totally wrong....
  3. #3
    Bloopy is offline Senior Member
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    Short answer, no.

    You could make a case in court that it is in the CHILD’s best interests. From you stated logic, it sounds to be more in YOUR best interests.

    The whole process can be expensive. Having a different last name than your children is not so bad.
  4. #4
    milspecgirl is offline Senior Member
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    not only that, you can't just change your name. You have to have a court order if it wasn't addressed in the divorce
  5. #5
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    I would recommend you find a mate you can live with before worrying about your NAME
  6. #6
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by milspecgirl View Post
    not only that, you can't just change your name. You have to have a court order if it wasn't addressed in the divorce
    Its actually a fairly simply process for an adult to change their last name. Yes, it has to go to court, but its not a big deal, and it doesn't require an attorney.

    OP, have you considered hyphenating your last name? That way you would share both children's last name, but would not have to go through the mess of attempting to change your child's last name, and possibly failing.
  7. #7
    Accountable is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    Its actually a fairly simply process for an adult to change their last name. Yes, it has to go to court, but its not a big deal, and it doesn't require an attorney.

    OP, have you considered hyphenating your last name? That way you would share both children's last name, but would not have to go through the mess of attempting to change your child's last name, and possibly failing.
    Yes....this your best option.
  8. #8
    XandersMomMom is offline Junior Member
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    Wink You CAN

    Hello,

    I was a bit taken aback by some of the answers I read when I came across this question! Apparently, some of these people have never been in a single mother's shoes.
    I too, have just gone through a divorce with a man who wants nothing to do with his child. My son is two and a half and his father made it clear (not that I objected considering he is an alcoholic and very irresponsible) that he has no intention of ever being a part of his life, and that we were both a mistake.
    That being said, OF COURSE I don't want either of us to have HIS name. WHY would I? I want us to have MY name. A name IS a big deal, people.
    It's NOT just in the mother's best interest. This child is going to walk around with the name of some man she/he doesn't even know. That's just not right. The child needs the name of the family that raises it.
    Here's what I did. Now, I got permission from his father, but the clerk told me, if I didn't, I would've just had to do the same thing I did for myself.
    Fill out a change of name request at the courthouse (Plymouth). They will then send you some documents in the mail and you have to have them published in your local paper, so that if anyone objects, they can go to the courthouse and file a complaint. You then have to send back proof that you published the papers, which is just an Affidavit the court sent you with the date the paper published it. When that is all said and done, they will send you proof that it was all processed and your name changes were ok'd and then you start the process of changing it with EVERYONE else!
    I should be getting my papers this week.
    It's fairly expensive, so unless you have around $400, start saving, or you can file a Affidavit of Indingency with your paperwork.
    Good Luck!
  9. #9
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by XandersMomMom View Post
    Apparently, some of these people have never been in a single mother's shoes.
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Focus, dear.
  10. #10
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by XandersMomMom View Post
    Hello,

    I was a bit taken aback by some of the answers I read when I came across this question! Apparently, some of these people have never been in a single mother's shoes.
    I too, have just gone through a divorce with a man who wants nothing to do with his child. My son is two and a half and his father made it clear (not that I objected considering he is an alcoholic and very irresponsible) that he has no intention of ever being a part of his life, and that we were both a mistake.
    That being said, OF COURSE I don't want either of us to have HIS name. WHY would I? I want us to have MY name. A name IS a big deal, people.
    It's NOT just in the mother's best interest. This child is going to walk around with the name of some man she/he doesn't even know. That's just not right. The child needs the name of the family that raises it.
    Here's what I did. Now, I got permission from his father, but the clerk told me, if I didn't, I would've just had to do the same thing I did for myself.
    Fill out a change of name request at the courthouse (Plymouth). They will then send you some documents in the mail and you have to have them published in your local paper, so that if anyone objects, they can go to the courthouse and file a complaint. You then have to send back proof that you published the papers, which is just an Affidavit the court sent you with the date the paper published it. When that is all said and done, they will send you proof that it was all processed and your name changes were ok'd and then you start the process of changing it with EVERYONE else!
    I should be getting my papers this week.
    It's fairly expensive, so unless you have around $400, start saving, or you can file a Affidavit of Indingency with your paperwork.
    Good Luck!
    WRONG. You would have to serve the LEGAL FATHER of the child and not just put it in the paper. But glad to know the CLERK is engaging in the UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE of law. Maybe I should call the PLYMOUTH courthouse and file a formal criminal complaint against the clerk in the probate department who gave you that stupid, incorrect information.

    Also, if you didn't serve the father of the child, it can be overturned. Not to mention the child has HER last name. Her last name may be her married name but it is still HER last name. Try to sit down and shut up until you know the law.

    Oh and I will be calling the PLYMOUTH courthouse as well as the MAssachusetts bar later to let them know that the clerks are breaking the law.

    Not to mention you just necroposted -- this poster asked THREE YEARS AGO. If they haven't figured it out yet they never will.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  11. #11
    disneykid52 is offline Member
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    Marry another guy with the same last name. Simple,easy
  12. #12
    TinkerBelleLuvr is offline Senior Member
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    Xander - quit necroposting just to rant.
    Last edited by TinkerBelleLuvr; 02-24-2011 at 07:56 AM.
  13. #13
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Dang! I got caught! I plead early morning syndrome!
  14. #14
    LeemonGator is offline Member
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    If you took it to court, paid a lawyer and were well prepared I believe you could get the name changed.

    Before you do something like that, I can tell first hand that the easiest way to get an uninvolved father interested is serving him court papers.
  15. #15
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeemonGator View Post
    If you took it to court, paid a lawyer and were well prepared I believe you could get the name changed.
    On what basis?

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