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Minor children want to change last name

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tmcneill

Guest
What is the name of your state? Tennessee

My children have no memory of their natural father. We've been divorced for 12.5 years and he hasn't seen them since before our divorce. They are ages 12,13. I am getting married next year and my children consider their stepfather "Dad". They have expressed a desire to take his last name. Is this even possible? I do receive child support from the St of Mississippi from his garnished wages but he hasn't called, written, or seen them in since our divorce. Does he still have a say? How do I start this process? Can they change their names without being adopted by their stepdad?
 


Grace_Adler

Senior Member
I don't think it's a good idea to let them start using his name without making it legal. I don't really know the specifics on that.

I just thought, after all this time of no contact, you could probably have his parental rights taken away which would allow your husband to adopt them. Otherwise, if he wants to adopt, you'll have to have the biological father's permission. Since he hasn't been in their life, it probably wouldn't be much of a problem where he's concerned.
 
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qtpie

Guest
I don't believe you can have bio-dad's rights terminated because you ARE receiving child support from him. If you were NOT receiving child support, that would be a horse of a different color. As long as bio-dad is paying child support, he has not abandoned the children. You would not be able to prove "abandonment".

I get the idea from reading your post that the kids (and probably you) want to ACT like step-dad is their "dad" and use his last name and you all want to be one, big, happy family, but you still want that support check coming in. And you realize that if step-dad did adopt your children, you would lose that money.

Now, before everyone blasts me, if the money is no issue and you could get along without the child support check, why doesn't step-dad want to adopt when you marry?
 
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tmcneill

Guest
Money has nothing to do with this. I'm more than happy to let bio-dad keep his money. I can't depend on it anyway. The only reason adoption by stepdad is questionable is because bio-dad would have to sign the papers, right? Even if I knew where he was, there's no guarantee he would sign. I would love to see step-dad adopt.

I want what's best for my children. Money IS NOT the issue.
 

Grace_Adler

Senior Member
Sorry, I overlooked the part about the support.

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but, it sounds to me like you stand an exremely good chance at getting his rights terminated. Also, on the below link, it has laws about adoption.

http://198.187.128.12/tennessee/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=fs-main.htm&2.0

It doesn't matter whether or not he's sending you child support or not. From what I'm reading, since he hasn't made reasonable efforts to see the child, meaning visitation, they can be terminated. They may consider it in the best interest of you child because he hasn't been around in so long. They do take that into consideration. (The best interest of the child.) Like I said, maybe I'm not understanding it but I gave you the link so you can read it and maybe ask an attorney about it.

Also, these links: http://consumer.pub.findlaw.com/family/children/life_events/forms/le2_6_1.pdt

http://www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs/sag/groundterm.cfm
 
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