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Child last name change

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I want to change my son's last name to mine. The father and I were never married and is abusive. What options do I have to change his name to mine?


Senior Member
The common law rule giving the father a primary right to have the child bear his surname has been abolished. The sole consideration when parents contest a surname in custody disputes is the child’s best interest. The factors to be considered include the length of time the child has used a surname (although other factors may be controlling if the child is very young), the effect of a name change on preservation of the father-child relationship, the strength of the mother-child relationship, whether the mother decides to use her birth-given surname, and the child’s identification as part of a family unit. The symbolic role that a surname plays in easing relations with a new family must be balanced against the importance of maintaining the child’s relationship with the noncustodial biological parent. [Re Marriage of Schiffman (1980) 28 Cal 3d 640, 169 Cal Rptr 918, 620 P2d 579]
These considerations apply whether the dispute is over a change in the child’s surname or in the name given to the child at birth. If substantial evidence supports the trial court’s decision on the matter, it will not be reversed on appeal, even if the evidence is conflicting and the appellate court might have reached a different conclusion. [In re Marriage of Douglass (1988, 5th Dist) 205 Cal App 3d 1046, 252 Cal Rptr 839] However, a parent’s unhappiness with the other parent’s choice of a surname is not enough to meet the substantial evidence standard. And the fact that the surname used by the mother for herself and the child is the surname of a former husband rather than her birth-given surname does not detract from its importance in determining which name the child shall be given. [In re Marriage of McManamy & Templeton (1993, 2nd Dist) 14 Cal App 4th 607, 18 Cal Rptr 2d 216]


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