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Name change without consent from non-custodial parent

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jrroach85

New member
My children are 11 and 12. Their father lost custody of them when they were 1 and 2 and we had also divorced during that time. He was in and out of jail for domestic violence and DUI issues. He has supervised visits, turned to unsupervised, eventually turned to completely revoked visitation. This occurred 3 years ago. During these 3 years, he has not asked about them, attempted to visit the, come to their sporting events, etc. Child support is being garnished from his paychecks due to non-payment. My children requested to take on our family last name. I have been married for 8 years now with my spouse, who has raised them, and they call their dad. We have lived as a family unit for over 9 years. Today, I filed for name change with circuit court. I know their father will contest this out of spite. I asked if he would sign off on it and he declined. I am aware that a hearing will most likely be scheduled. What are the chances of getting the name change granted by the judge without hearing? If it does require a hearing with the father contesting this, what are the chances it will be granted?
 

xylene

Senior Member
These are matters to discuss with your lawyer.

Are you trying to terminate spouses parental rights and do a step parent adoption?
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
The chances are pretty slim that you'll be able to do a name-change without his consent, assuming he challenges it. You could end up with the kids having a hyphenated name.
Why do you adults just change your names to match that of the children?

Why in the WORLD do your kids call your husband their dad?
 

jrroach85

New member
These are matters to discuss with your lawyer.

Are you trying to terminate spouses parental rights and do a step parent adoption?
We are not using our attorney for this matter.
Their father has discussed terminating his rights and allowing a step parent adoption through text messages. However, he changes his mind often. The name change will be helpful to my children who express that they are tired of explaining why their name is different and are embarrassed to say who their real father is.
 

jrroach85

New member
The chances are pretty slim that you'll be able to do a name-change without his consent, assuming he challenges it. You could end up with the kids having a hyphenated name.
Why do you adults just change your names to match that of the children?

Why in the WORLD do your kids call your husband their dad?
They adopted the name dad for their stepfather and I do not tell them not to refer to him as such. He has raised them, loved them, supported them, cared for them. They are well aware that they have a biological father, but choose to call their stepfather dad. Their bio father has often put them in danger, abused my daughter, and neglects to attempt to have a relationship. Why in the WORLD would they not?
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
They adopted the name dad for their stepfather and I do not tell them not to refer to him as such. He has raised them, loved them, supported them, cared for them. They are well aware that they have a biological father, but choose to call their stepfather dad. Their bio father has often put them in danger, abused my daughter, and neglects to attempt to have a relationship. Why in the WORLD would they not?
Because he's not.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
What are the chances of getting the name change granted by the judge without hearing?
According to the VA name change statute 8.01-217:

In case of a minor who has both parents living, the parent who does not join in the application shall be served with reasonable notice of the application pursuant to § 8.01-296 and, should such parent object to the change of name, a hearing shall be held to determine whether the change of name is in the best interest of the minor.

Nobody can predict the outcome.

Why in the WORLD do your kids call your husband their dad?
Why in the WORLD shouldn't they call him Dad?

Dad is a state of mind. If he acts like a Dad, he's a Dad.

Heck, some of you people call a priest "father" and he isn't your father. :p
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
According to the VA name change statute 8.01-217:




Nobody can predict the outcome.
True - but if dad actually contests it, a hyphenation is a possible (if not likely) outcome.



Why in the WORLD shouldn't they call him Dad?

Dad is a state of mind. If he acts like a Dad, he's a Dad.

Heck, some of you people call a priest "father" and he isn't your father. :p
In the legal sense, this man is not dad.

I feel that the OP should have pursued a step-parent adoption at least a year ago based on abandonment.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
They adopted the name dad for their stepfather and I do not tell them not to refer to him as such. He has raised them, loved them, supported them, cared for them. They are well aware that they have a biological father, but choose to call their stepfather dad. Their bio father has often put them in danger, abused my daughter, and neglects to attempt to have a relationship. Why in the WORLD would they not?
And yet their father will end up with custody if something were to happen to you. Seriously...Consider adoption.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
What are the chances of getting the name change granted by the judge without hearing? If it does require a hearing with the father contesting this, what are the chances it will be granted?
The chances of it being granted without a hearing is pretty much zero. In order for the judge to decide to grant the name change he or she needs to determine if it would be in the best interests of the child and weigh the rights of the parents, too. In order to do that, the judge will need to hear evidence about the NCPs history with the child and how the name change would impact things going forward. Allegations in a complaint and responses in an answer are not evidence, so the judge can't go by just what the parties have submitted in writing.

As for the chances that it will be granted, it is possible to win these cases, but there is no way that I or anyone here could realistically assess your chances to win because there is simply not enough information here to do that. The automatic reaction of most people seems to be that if the NCP objects that the change is nearly impossible to get. However, the reality is more complex than that. I have seen cases where the name change succeeds. You'll want to consult a family law attorney to an answer to this, preferably one who practices in the county where the judge is who will be hearing the matter.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
They adopted the name dad for their stepfather and I do not tell them not to refer to him as such. He has raised them, loved them, supported them, cared for them. They are well aware that they have a biological father, but choose to call their stepfather dad. Their bio father has often put them in danger, abused my daughter, and neglects to attempt to have a relationship. Why in the WORLD would they not?
Your husband is NOT their father. HE is their stepfather. YOU are being alienating with this behavior.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
According to the VA name change statute 8.01-217:




Nobody can predict the outcome.



Why in the WORLD shouldn't they call him Dad?

Dad is a state of mind. If he acts like a Dad, he's a Dad.

Heck, some of you people call a priest "father" and he isn't your father. :p
That is a sign of alienation when a parent allows a non parent to be called "mom" or "dad". I have won custody cases based upon said things.
 
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