My ex-fiance is taking me to court over our son's last name.

[deleted account] ( 46 moms have responded )

My fiance left me when I was 6 months pregnant. I was the better person and called him when I went into labor and he was there during the birth. We chose to name our son Owen Bruce he signed the affidavit of parentage with only his first name on it since we hadn't decided on a middle name. He made the assumption I was going to give him his last name but I didn't. When he found this out he flipped and got himself an attorney. I got served papers saying I was being sued over it. Thankfully I have grandparents who are amazing and they are paying for my attorney (up to $2500) to take care of this. My attorney advices me to change his name (my ex wants to have his name hyphenated) The reasons my attorney says to just change it is the fact that the case would go to trial and I would have to pay for expert witness fees and her to do all this research and on and on and it could cost up to $10k and we would probably lose because all the other similar cases not only did the man win but the judge also ruled that the women had to pay his attorney fees too. In all the other cases however the couples were married. Since Jon and I were never married I don't see why I should do it. What does anybody think? Should I cave or stand my ground? If he wanted his son to have his last name he would have stuck with the relationship when things got tough.

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Michelle - posted on 01/30/2010

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First off a little rant: Some men have such egos! They aren't around, don't help out, could care less about the baby... EXCEPT when it comes to passing on the family name, showing that their sperm were strong enough to get it done, pass the baby around for admiring family at holidays... Sorry. I can't stand this no-show father who suddenly throws a fit all because of their pride.
My advice is to think this all over carefully. I just finished a divorce that cost me $10,000 because of the custody battle. Danielle had a good point when she said think about what your ex-fiance will ultimately be wanting. If he is going for joint custody you will have more to worry about than a name change and unless he's got serious issues he'll be awarded some. If you think it's truly all about the name and you have the financial support to continue this battle for as long as it takes (plus potentially pay his costs although that's a bunch of crap) then I say stand your ground! You were never married and the birth certificate didn't have his last name on it... but he still signed it. Go with what your head and heart tell you. Good luck!

Danielle - posted on 01/30/2010

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Guess my question is why does the ex want your son to have his last name? Has he been paying support? Is he going to start doing so? Is his ultimate goal to wrest custody of your son from you?

If he isn't paying support, isn't involved with the child's life, etc. Then I agree there should be no reason why you need to change your son's last name. Furthermore, if you decide to change the name, then (1) have your ex pay for all fees regarding the change including your current legal fees and (2) draw up custody paperwork now, again your ex paying all legal fees for the arrangement. Make sure to state in the custody paperwork that you will claim the child on your taxes yearly, you will maintain primary physical custody, and if you want your ex to provide medical insurance for the child. If you hypenate the child's last name with your last name first, then when you complete paperwork you could always make a point to leave off the last part of the name. However if your ex is providing medical coverage, then it would be easier to get your son coverage (fewer questions asked) if he had the same last name of the insured.

Best of luck!

Katie - posted on 02/07/2010

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My sons father and I were never married, and when my son was born I gave him my last name also. From what I understand because he and I were never married, I have no obligations to the father as far as his son having the same last name. I refused to give my son the same last name as a man that lied, cheated, and manipulated me. Stand your ground, give him your last name. If possible, I might even get a second opinion from a different attorney. -and just a little something to think about... do you think you guys would be having this argument if the baby had been a girl? Probably not, so stick to your guns girl!

Danielle - posted on 03/05/2010

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OK...i know in different countries there are different laws. But in Australia..whatever you put on the birth certificate is their legal name and can only be changed with a court order or unless both parties agree...AS the primary carer you should not have to change your childs last name.



Unless your ex has a signed document from you stating that you were going to put his last name on then i dont see how he can get it changed?..it is only hear say otherwise....



However you can state that because you are the main care giver then you need your child to have your last name to make it easier with school and on your child etc.....



If yu do end up getting his name hyphenated you DONT HAVE TO use his name EVER on ANY DOCUMENTS! ( from what i have been told by my lawyer, but double check it)....Make sure ur last name is on the end of the hyphen..and then u only use your last name,lol....the only time ur exs last name will eve be used in on the birth certificate....THen when you r child is older they can get their last name changed to whatever they want.



I was also silly and got my ex's last name put on my daughters certificate. however i was able to get a court order to say that can change her last name ( which i am doing next week),,,,But i think this is due to the fact that i have 100% custody.

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Yalana - posted on 07/06/2011

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I don't know what state you live in, but in Ohio, if a woman has a child and is not married to the father, as I was not when I had my oldest, the woman not only has automatic custody of the child, but the child has no legal father, regardless if he signed the papers as the father. In Ohio, if he wants his name on the certificate, he has to submit to a DNA test and petition for a new certificate as well. If he wants to shell out the money to establish paternity and to petition to have his name on the certificate, tell him to knock himself out. Then he'll have to start paying child support, back child support, and provide health insurance for the child. I had my oldest son in West Virginia, and they automatically put my maiden name on my oldest son's birth certificate and hospital card. I had to fight with them before I was discharged to change the cert., but they did it only after his dad signed a multi-paged affidavit. I wish that when I get my name changed back to my maiden name that I could change my sons' last name, but that will have to be their decision when they are old enough to do it themselves. Look up the laws in your state. They may be similar to Ohio's. I'm also willing to bet that he doesn't have as much of a leg to stand on as he thinks he does.

Jenna - posted on 07/06/2011

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To be honest, as you weren't actually in a relationship at the time he has no legal rights to the child that he "abandoned" before it was born.
And get a new attorney - your current one isn't worth diddly squat!

Jenna - posted on 07/06/2011

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To be honest, as you weren't actually in a relationship at the time he has no legal rights to the child that he "abandoned" before it was born.
And get a new attorney - your current one isn't worth diddly squat!

Yalana - posted on 06/29/2011

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In Ohio, if the mother is not married to the father, the mother automatically has custody of the child. Also, in Ohio, the baby can be given ANY last name the parent(s) want...even if it's not their own. If your last name is Jones and it doesn't go with the name you picked, you can choose a different last name. Some do hyphenate, but honestly, it's a bit tedious for a small child. They most likely will end up just using one of the names as they get older, anyway. I'd loooove to have my sons last name changed, but unfortunately, I was married to their father. The only way I can get it changed now is if their dad signs over all his rights or he dies and my boyfriend adopts them. I think that when the child reaches a certain age, they can petition to have their own name legally changed.

Kelly - posted on 06/29/2011

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Im so sorry that you & many other women including my self have or has or are going through this. I have a son he was given my ex partners last name i was never married either which i then filed for the courts to change as he had nothing to do with him. I had a last name & my poor son had another last name it got to much at daycare & school my son was alway upset that we had two different names the children at the school didnt understand.I ended up going to court & getting his last name changed to mine my son is so much happier he has my last name & he doesnt see his father a very strained relationship if you even call it that.its the best decision iv made.seek legal advice South West call 12.30pm -2pm free legal advice 9601 7777 for Abuse call the womens Domestic Violence court advocacy service. Dont cave stand your ground its your child who will carry this name for the rest of his life unless he is a girl & gets married takes husbands name.

Katrinya - posted on 03/12/2010

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Thats your child as much as his so keep fighting because it takes alot being a single parent and your child deserves your name more than his! You are the one there for him through thick and thin.

Aliya - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter has my last name. Her father and I were never officially married, but were considered common law. He refused to have her name hyphenated or sign her birth certificate with a hyphenated last name. After I left him in 08, he sued me for full custody of her and to have her name changed..Ego of course. However, given his abusive history and that warrant for his arrest that he forgot about for battery and assault case he didn't finish probation on and the fact that we were not officially married, the court gave him supervised visitation, child support and refused to allow the name change or even let him sign her birth certificate. This did cost me 10K in lawyer fees, tho.

You will likely spent around the same amount if there is more than one trial and depending on the amount of work your lawyer has to do.

In my case, after the temporary hearing, he never showed back up to court. Has not seen her since 08 and owes over 32K in back child support. For him, it was all or none.

I do not see any problem with a hyphenated last name. As your child is known with your last name, there shouldn't be any issue with simply using your last name for school or his social security card. Your child can always go by the name on his current social security card, regardless of the name on his birth certificate, if it is changed. For example, I use my middle name as my first for work, taxes, etc as it is my first name on my SS. If his name is hyphenated, he has the choice to use either or both.

So do what you feel is right. But keep in mind the cost of righteousness.

Nicole - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter has my last name and sperm donor wanted me to change it and called up a lawyer but the lawyer told him that he couldn't unless I consented to it, and I wont so he is sol, but I agree you should shop around for lawyer's they are all different

Kristin - posted on 03/07/2010

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I know where I live, the mother chooses the name. Since I am not married and my ex and I were not together, I gave my daughter my last name. He has never seen her, asked about her or anything.

Does your babes father pay child support? Help you out? Get visitation? If not, the judge might (very likely will) take that into account. I would call a different lawyer who specializes in child cases and see what they say.

Chermese - posted on 03/06/2010

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You are not giving in but however just give him your last name and his fathers.No big deal sometimes men act like kids. Be the bigger one and just do it its not worth it besides the money can be spent on something else. Like filling for custody papers for your son.

Catherine - posted on 03/06/2010

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I am going through the same thing right now! Almost same circumstance and everything! Hope it goes your way. I'm crossing my fingers for myself!
UGHHH.

Kristina - posted on 03/06/2010

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You could fight for the name to stay the same. I have two daughters and both are by the same father. One has his last name and one has my last name because he wouldn't sign the affadavit and wanted to go through genetic testing. My only concern with that is would if I marry. In order for my youngest daughter to have the same last name as me I would have to hyphenate my name. My last name is really long. The father doesn't pay child support but is now wanting to have both of his daughters because shockingly the paternity test came back that he was the father. I had no doubts about that one. I don't know if he will win or not-it is hard to say. You could also get a second opinion by contacting another attorney who will do a free consultation for 30 minutes. Those do exist sometimes.

Amy - posted on 03/06/2010

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when my son was bron ( he is two now ) me and my ex were still togeter but when it come time to send in the birth cerficte he told me he had to have his last name and i was paying for everything so i gave my son my name and his ( the exs ) and he was not happy we broke up after that , to me it makes no diffrents whos last name your son has his farther sound love him no matter what, stand your ground at least you have your grandparents to help you,

Helen - posted on 03/06/2010

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In British law the woman chooses the name unless the couple are married. If you have full custody and you have never been married I don't see how on earth he can. If your lawyer says otherwise perhaps you should consider getting further legal advice and look at case histories yourself. Good luck anyway, your ex sounds awful!

PAULA - posted on 03/06/2010

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Hello other Paula... you have up until the child is 1 year old to change your the forenames if so required. You merely need consent of whoever is named on the birth certificate and in my case only me. With regards to the surname a Change of Name Deed would be required but, the parent with parental responsibility could do this alone if they had sole response. I am in England so this applies to English Law. Hopefully I have helped.

Paula - posted on 03/05/2010

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question to paula: you mentioned changin the middle name without his consent. I would love to change my daughters last name; how did you do that? I would really appreciate that info... And good luck to Sonya...

Marketta - posted on 03/05/2010

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WOW!!!!! My daughter's father has never even seen her and I wish, just wish he would eveeerrrr come at me like that.... I'm the bigger person - I send pictures, emails, I talk to him everyday about whats going on with her. But I'm her mom, her guardian, I'm the one waking up at 0300, I'm the one who consoles her when she's not feeling well so I make the decisions when it comes to her.... (just my two cents)

PAULA - posted on 03/05/2010

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I can't believe what I have just read.... I gave my son my surname when I registered his birth but, I did not put daddys name on the birth certificate. Therefore he has no rights. I changed my sons middle name also without the consent of the father and basically theres naff all he can do about it. I'm shocked that this could cost you so much money and that your ex is such an arse that he's going to make you fight him. Personally I would stand your ground. Your the mother, its your decision. I hope this works out for you and hope it doesnt cost you the earth.

Paula - posted on 03/05/2010

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to kenyetta: it's not considered babysitting if it's his own child! That's like saying all you're doing is babysitting too... Anyway, in my opinion I wouldn't change the last name. I gave my daughter his last name. He hasn't seen her in over a year. Better yet he moved out of the state. Now I regret givin her his last name. He's completely out of the picture and people now have a hard time believing she's my daughter. She looks just like her father who is polish and i'm mexican so many people question whether she's mine.

Desiree - posted on 03/05/2010

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i say stand your ground! if you're not going to be ok with him having that name for the rest of his life, then you better fight it. cuz you're both gonna have to live with it for a LONG time

Rae - posted on 02/23/2010

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I would not settle. I think you are on the right page with your thoughts about the fact that the two of you were never married, and if your ex wants the last name hyphenated, then you will still be better off going to court and at least giving it a shot. I completely understand wanting your child to have your last name especially when you are the only or primary parent in the picture.

Janet - posted on 02/22/2010

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If I were in your shoes, I'd research on the internet to find out what the law actually says. Since you and the baby's father were never married I don't think he has any grounds for insisting on changing the baby's name. There's a different between the rights of a biological father and the father that parents the child. Just like a sperm donor can't show up and insist on a name change for a child biologically related but without a parent/child relationship.

Julie - posted on 02/22/2010

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i say stand your ground if its really that important to you i would but idk if i would be able to afford it both of my children have their fathers last name but honestly i regret it bc he does nothing for them if your married i think its right but if im the one caring for these childrens and he does nothin why should he get the credit for them

Lynne - posted on 02/22/2010

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I think you should gather all the necessary legal advice before making any decisions such as changing names.don't you have a free helpline where you can get this type of information? my reason for asking is that I think there's a difference between your case and those of married couple's.You might find out something that can save you alot of money and trouble.
Good luck and my prayers are with you.

Danielle - posted on 02/21/2010

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stand your ground darling or he will think he runs the show. i got pregnant with my son by a man that was otherwise taken and i had no idea. he has been in a relationship with this girl for 31/2 years and are now planning to get married. this girl is trying to tell me how my sons life is going to be and that i am not part of the family and she does not have to except me just my son and that aint happening. he is my child not hers. he lost the right the day he left you to fend for yourself while you were carrying his child. i am having a similar issue. he wants the baby to have his last name but i do not want my children to have different last names and even though my son is my first i do plan on having more some day. his solution give all my kids his last name. like that would go over well. so my advice find another lawyer. there are actually several free lawyers avalible for things like this so i suggest you google some who would be willing to take your case. if you do not want to fight than give the baby his last name and yours. hyphinate them with yours being the last one so that is the one the baby will legally go by.

Mariah - posted on 02/21/2010

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my son has my Last name so I am not really sure that you would really lose trial but I don't know. I total agree with you if your Ex fiance want his son to have last name he should have stuck around. Good luck

[deleted account]

I am in a similar situation, except that the father of my daughter was informed of the birth, but chose not to attend. I hyphenated her name which I now regret. She is 3 and already knows her full name, but with both names, and her first formal name being margarete, her last name totals 14 letters. She has two middle names as well. Putting all that aside, I think that it is harder when kids get to school to have 2 last names. It is hard enough being a single mother, why put your child through the problem of kids asking why his mom has a different last name. I think the lawyers are jerks, I think that the court system should throw this out. I agree, I wonder what his motives are, is he worried that the family name won't be carried forward. I think you should wait until your son is older and can make up his own mind. If he wants a middle name then he will have to pay to have his name changed anyway. I think the father was wasting his money, he should have saved it and spent it on spending time bonding with his son.

Arrynne - posted on 02/21/2010

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'And the last name is really not an issue. He can be a father without having the same last name!!!'

Same goes with the mother can still be a mother without the same last name. If the father excersises access or even has up to joint or more custody, whether it be legal or physical than the fathers last name SHOULD be added on because he is playing an active role in the child's life and therefore should not be denied his equal rights (same rights that the mother has) to have his child have his surname. In the cases where the father wants nothing to do with the child then no the father should not be reconized and the childs last name should be the mother's. Keep in mind that you may one day get married and have your last name changed to your new spouses. That will leave your child not having the same last name as either parent and you cannot change the child's last name to your spouses unless the bio father agree's and some places may also require the bio father to sign away his rights and for the new spouse to adopt the child in order for that to happen.

Kaylea - posted on 02/21/2010

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I am just wondering I is a hyphenated last name going to hurt your child? Are you going to keep him from seeing his dad? I think it is a small detail to spend that much money over. Hopefully he will be a great dad even if he wasn't a great partner...

Arrynne - posted on 02/20/2010

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Because of the 'newer' laws granting the fathers to have the same equal rights as the mother only having your last name as the child's surname is denying him his equal rights since it is making you out to be the more important parent and him being the lesser parent (yep equality sucks doesn't it?). Have both names hyphenated in alphabetical order (that way there is no fighting over whose last name goes first)

Sheila - posted on 02/08/2010

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The above comments have alot of truth in them. As an always single parent, I gave my daughter my last name...which just happened to be his last name too (and no we were not related!) He signed the birth certificate...and did not pay much child support. I would recommend getting the custody stuff together. AND...if he was abusive to you, odds are he will be abusive to his child also. Abuser are not picky. And the last name is really not an issue. He can be a father without having the same last name!!!

Lindsey - posted on 02/08/2010

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It depends on how important the issue really is to you. I gave my son his father's last name because no matter what, that is his father, and where he came from. I felt it was the right thing to do. I definitely wouldn't waste so much money that could go toward my child and his future, on debating the issue in court. It's your choice, but really think about what is important to you.

Tash - posted on 02/08/2010

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a last name is meant to mean something...my sons fathers last name dosnt mean shit to me and my family are the ones who stood by me not him so my son got my last name i would have fought him tooth and nail if he pulled a stunt you are going through but do whats best for you and bubs not what everyone is telling you to do..good luck

Angelina - posted on 02/07/2010

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i agree that he should have stayed if he wanted ur son to have his last name but if you go through child suppourt and the father says he wants the name changed the judge will change it my 2nd daughter has my name when we wen to child-s. i told them i wanted to keep her name as mine and if they were going to make me change it then i didnt want cs my kids dad luckily didnt care so ya i say cave at least u can save $$$ .. im in the process of changing my kids last names too but the dads are in jail so i think i might have more say then them!!! keepin my fingerws crossed!!

April - posted on 02/07/2010

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I'm glad you are standing your ground....From personal experience, if you have full custody of your child, YOU make ALL the legal decisions regarding your child INCLUDING a last name. Just because the father's name is on the birth certificate, does NOT mean you have to give the baby his last name. It's YOUR decision. Period.

I would also find another attorney....

[deleted account]

You GO, Sonya!!! From what you've said here, I feel you have just grounds to win this case. Threw you out while you were preggers & took everything? Abusive nature? Go get him, girl... you don't deserve any more of his crap (you never DESERVED ANY of the abuse). Sounds like he has major control issues, like my ex. I was married to my ex, so I kept his name & our daughter has his last name (easier on her teachers)... He had a lawyer his parents paid for. I represented myself. Spent a lot of time at the local library in the Revised Statutes... It was kinda cool when I couldn't find a statute listed in one of the lawyers filed papers. It had been repealed, reworked & renumbered. I got the judge to dismiss her paper from the record, and he advised her to use current codes - lol!! What I'm saying is, you can win this thing with or without a lawyer. I did. I have sole custody, and he has supervised visitation. Be prepared to bring in witnesses. People who were there for you when he kicked you out. Where did you go? Bring them! Did he only abuse in private, or did others see/hear it? Bring them! My ex was abusing drugs. I brought in a witness who had been doing drugs with him the night before!! YOU ARE SONYA SWAB, and JON OLGER WILL NOT WIN THIS TIME !! Go get him !!!!!

Tracey - posted on 02/03/2010

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Hello there, If you were not married then im not so sure there is much he can do, stick to your grounds, your son could always change his name when he turns 18 if wants too. I understand that its a horrible process to go through, so best of luck from Tracey.

Michelle - posted on 02/02/2010

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atta girl!!! you just stay strong in your convictions and be your own champion (and your kiddos). To me it felt so good, so empowering to finally stand up after yrs of abuse and I hope you feel it too. :-)

[deleted account]

Thanks all for the advice I have decided to stand my ground. He is extremely verbally abusive and I tolerated it for 3 years of our relationship his motto that he says all the time is. "I'm Jon Olger and I always get what I want" I used to think it was cute and charming. Now I realize its just arrogance and I am going to put a little damper on his ego. He can't threaten me anymore I'm not his puppet. I'm tired of being the victim and the better person. He got the house and everything I put into it he took away my life when he left me threw me 6 months pregnant and my 6 year old daughter out on the streets the least he can give me is the name.

India - posted on 01/31/2010

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i feel that if he is in the childs life and has a relationship with the child...than he should have his fathers last name...if your dad was a part of your life dont u want his last name...i would not like it to think my mom or anyone tried to keep my birthright name from me at any point in my life...court can cost and most like if they rule in his favor you will be left paying his fees...

Sheri - posted on 01/30/2010

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I would say to stand your ground. Since you are the mother of the child you get to pick your childrens last name. Since you are not married you dont have to give him your ex's last name. My sister went throw this and the judge told the guy that there was nothing he could do about it since they were not married. I was say do what is best for you. Do some of your own research on it. They will not make you pay for his fees either because of the same reason. You could sue him for paying for your lawyer fees if you win.

Kenyetta - posted on 01/30/2010

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I don't know what to say about it. My daughter has two last name and I don't like it because he's not doing anything for her but babysitting her. He doesn't have a job and sometime he looks and sometimes he don't. That pisses me off until a point. He do and says things to me that makes me upset. in order for me to change her last name I have to go to family court to remove his last name. I'm saving to get that change. If I was you I would keep fighting. Your a single mother. Your doing what's right for your son so keep that in mind.

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