Baby's last name - boyfriend still married.

Brittany - posted on 04/17/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Hi there, Confused on the last name I should give my new child. The father and I have been living together for 2 years. We care for his two teenage children, and also my 7 yr old son. We are currently expecting a baby together in September. I gave my son my last name when I had him at 17. My boyfriend wants the baby to have his last name the same way his other children do.

My biggest issue is that the younger children would have different last names, also he is still married, separtated, but they share the same last name. Why would I give my baby THEIR last name? Does it sound selfish to want MY children to share the same last name... I feel insulted that he would expect me to give my baby a name he still shares with his (although separated) wife.



(I don`t care if she wants to keep the last name, I care that my child will have a name he shares with another woman through MARRIAGE, not divorce.)



I've been telling him to finalize the divorce to help me make my decision since the day I found out I was pregnant. I'm now 21 weeks and a phone call has not even been made to a lawyer. Please some input would be helpful -- Thank you

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Sarah - posted on 04/17/2012

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You can't control what name his ex uses. It was his last name his whole life, if she assumed it after they married, it doesnt change the fact it is still his family name. I can understand that he likely wants the baby to have his last name for the same reasons you want it to have yours. Why not consider a hyphenated name, that way babe has both your names. At the risk of sounding judgmental, i have to point out that if you are so upset that his ex and him aren't divorced, you should have considered that before you slept with him let alone became pregnant by him. Sit down and talk to him about why it is so important to you and go with him to the lawyer, its often the only way men will do things, if you hold their hands and make them. A lot of men are big procrastinators.

Dove - posted on 04/17/2012

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I'm divorced, but kept my married last name. All of my ex's children (my kids and his others) have his last name.



Personally I wouldn't have start dating a man who wasn't already divorced or at the very least have already started the process.



I don't think it is selfish of you to want both your children to have the same last name, but I do think you refusing to allow your child to have his father's last name because his ex has that name is rather silly. Not every woman goes back to her maiden name, especially if she has children w/ that last name.

[deleted account]

I am sorry to say that the guy is never going to legally sign off on those divroce papers. He has honestly no incentive to do so.



If I was in your situation, I would consider hyphenating the baby's last name. It is so common these days among children of unmarried partners. And kids adapt so quickly, there shouldn't be an issue of "My name is this and your name is that." This guy IS the baby's legal father and I do believe he has every right to be considered in the last name. Hyphenating the baby's last name is the most reasonable soultion. First name Mother surname-Father surname. Besides, there is never any guarantee in life and 5 years from now this guy could be sitting pretty in his wife's kitchen for breakfast, drinking morning coffee with her.

Iridescent - posted on 04/21/2012

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It doesn't sound like he has any intent to divorce, and you using it as a threat isn't going to make that happen (or him happy with the decision if it was made in that way). I can completely see your point though, and don't blame you! The decision is YOURS. If you want your baby to have your last name, then give that name to your baby. You also have the option to give a hyphenated last name to the baby, or even an entirely different last name from any of you (although if you do this, you may need to have a very good reason for it in court in the future if it comes to that for paternity/child support because they may change it upon his request without that). I would not validate his reason of wanting his kids to all have the same last name when he's refusing to make your relationship more stable, when your reasoning for the last name is identical and you'll always be there for the baby no matter what happens with him.

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2012

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I wonder why men always say their wives are emotionally unstable...it's this 'catch-all' phrase they use as frequently as doctors use 'acid reflux'.

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Rachel - posted on 04/21/2012

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Ok I will give you my situation I have 2 children a 5 year old little boy with my married name. I got married one month before he was born and I hyphanated my name. I left my husband not my sons father but the man i was with when i found out i was pregnant we were only friends seeing where it would go he said he would help with my son and treat him like he was his own when we started dating because my sonss biological father has and wants nothing to do with him. Ok so now i go by my maiden name and my son goes by my married name. now to add to the situation i have a 2 year old little girl who has her fathers last name I have been with her father for 3 years now and he raises both kids like they are his. I have no contact with my husband or my sons father. I have filed for divorce but am waiting to have the money to complete it. So in my home there are 3 different last names my sons mine and my daughter and her fathers. It doesnt really cause confusion because no one really asks and I just signed my son into school and no one had a problem with us having different last names. Also I never had the same last name as my mother. My sister and I now have the same last name and none of our 3 kids share the same last name. I dont see why you have a problem with the child having your husbands last name whether he is divorced or not him and his ex wife will always have the same last name if she chooses to keep it which means your child will have the same last name as his ex wife. If you were to marry him you will also have the same last name as his ex wife and his children and then your other child will have a different last name.

[deleted account]

Finances are not an issue, he is scared of hurting her feelings. (she's emotionally unstable).
=--

If I had a guy jerk me around for several years like this I'd be emtionally unstable too. I don't buy it.

[deleted account]

I hate to tel you Brittany, he's never going to end that marriage. If you were married then they'd still all have teh same last name so your anger is utterly misplaced. It should be directed towards the guy who refuses to finalize a divorce. Why are you tolerating this utter disrespect? No, even though he has nice qualities - this is not a nice man who gives a hoot about you as a respectful man would.

Iridescent - posted on 04/21/2012

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I had two kids with my boyfriend at the time. They were given his last name, and I had mine. We broke up for several years, and in that time he had a set of twins and I had a daughter with other people. I gave my daughter the same last name as my first two children - NOT her biological father's last name, and not my last name. It was a hard decision to make! Now, 5 years down the line, I'm married to the father of my first two and we have full custody of the other 3 kids, and we all have the same name. It did go to court and the biological father did object to my daughter's last name being completely different than both of ours. The judge upheld my decision for two reasons - 1 - it gave her continuity/inclusion in the family with the other kids already there, and 2 - she had a disability we weren't aware of at birth that caused a lot of medical documentation to be required, and changing the last name later would definitely cause lost medical records.

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2012

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It’s a technical issue. He is in relationship with two women with children. The first wife and his children currently have all of the technical rights to inheritance. That technically makes her a concubine if not actually married and again still a second rate woman. I would never give him ‘first rate rights’ unless I was first but she’s not. Being second rate, he gets second rights as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. No one said she was not going to give him access to his child; this is just a name issue. I agree with her…what happens if he never divorces??? Then her name is never attached to her own child? I say bullpucky. He technically gets the child without doing what it takes to own it? Hell no. We Women have been putting up with the ‘possession’ of men so long , we forget how ‘the ring’ says she’s taken, but a man gets no ring, and woman takes a ‘man’s name’ which says she belongs to him, but he doesn’t have to change his name…ad nauseum…wake up ladies. Selfish? Who is the selfish one here?The man had no business starting another family without concluding the other one first.

Dove - posted on 04/21/2012

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They've already filed for divorce though. It's just not finalized. It's only bigamy if he is MARRIED to Brittany, which he is not.



What makes him have rights to his child? The fact that it is HIS child too! What's more is the fact that a child has an equal right to his/her father just as much as to the mother. It's not the baby's fault that his/her mother is not married to his/her father, so why make the child potentially suffer for that? THAT would be selfish!

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2012

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what makes him have the 'right' to the child when he's been dragging his feet for 2,5 years? You are wrong on thi one his baby or not...sorry, the guy should be divorced in order to take on another woman and child...right now he's technically a bigomist and illegal.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigamy

Dove - posted on 04/21/2012

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Michelle, that's his baby too and regardless of what the name is both parents can and should have equal rights to the child. The name doesn't change that.



Brittany, if it makes you feel any better, I know a couple who lived together for over 20 years before the woman finalized her divorce and married the man that she'd been living with for over 20 years. They've been together for over 30 years.

Michelle - posted on 04/21/2012

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omg! No, then what happens if he stays and claims legal right and takes the baby from you because of the last name. No! Your name...he's not legally separated..he's married still, NO! Protect yourself and your child. When divorce is final and He Marries you, ok, but not until then.

Brittany - posted on 04/18/2012

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Thank you ladies, your comments are greatly appreciated, and I don't feel so judged. I do know the baby is also his. Just concerned I'm leaving myself vulnerable to never sharing a surname with my child.



I also went through a family divorce when I was young, my mother went back to her maiden name leaving myself and 2 siblings without an adult in the home with the same surname. It also caused me great confusion - I couldn't understand why she would take the name for my dad, when she married - but wouldn't keep it for her children when she divorced. It caused confusion at schools (she would get upset and correct teachers ect) when they called her by her married name, and animosity in other places of my life due to an angry divorce.



I do feel uneasy that he doesn't want to complete the divorce. It makes me concerned he will never finish it - although he speaks of marrying me all the time, and calls me his wife to co-workers and friends. But, I am not his wife. He has a wife.



I think my best plan of action is to proceed with the fundamental thought that if I am not married, my children will have my name. I understand the importance that comes from family connection through a surname. Although I also understand we could all coincide happily with different names. I would perfer we all share a surname.

[deleted account]

I understand where you're coming from Brittany. It's easy for people to sit back and judge (whether they've been in your situation or not). Here's my advice: do what you think is best for you and your children. I grew up with a different last name than my siblings and always wondered why I was different. It actually made me FEEL different, even though my mother never treated me differently, if that makes sense. I definitely think that no matter what name you give your new baby, the father should be on the birth certificate so that in the future, if any problems arise (knock wood), he is still responsible.

I understand that your husband is putting the divorce off because of his ex's emotional issues. On one hand, I think it's very kind of him to still be so sensitive to her. But on the other hand, he has moved on and has a new life and new responsibilities now. I think it's high time he just went ahead and got his divorce. He's slowly pulling off the band-aid and, as we all know, it's much less painful to just yank it off quickly.

Best of luck to you.

Liz - posted on 04/18/2012

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I actually understand something of what you're saying, but from the viewpoint of your kids. When I was three, my mother remarried and consequently changed her surname. I don't remember the period clearly, but I do remember strong feelings that if my mother's surname and mine were different, then somehow I would not be part of her family any more. I'm told that my words to her were 'If we don't have the same surname, then I'm not your daughter, you're not my mother and we don't belong to each other any more.' Despite all attempts to reason, explain and console, I was a stubborn and precocious little mite and refused point blank to carry a surname that wasn't the same as my mother's. In the end, my mother had to get written permission from my father for me to change my name. He gave it and I carried my step-father's surname from the age of three until I married. Using a surname not on my birth certificate eventually caused me no end of legal issues, especially when I emigrated to the US.



All kids are different and other women may tell you that their kids were not confused or upset by having different surnames to siblings or other members of the family, but some kids _will_ be affected. Until you realise your kid is affected (or not), you have no way of knowing which way it'll be. Meanwhile, all you have to go on are your gut feelings. If these are telling you that you are unhappy at the idea of not sharing a surname with your child, then there is nothing wrong with giving your child your last name.



Strictly speaking your child isn't entitled to your partner's last name if he isn't married to you, though this is all convention and nothing to do with legality. From a personal point of view, I wouldn't give my child a last name that belonged to someone who hadn't committed to me yet.

Sarah - posted on 04/18/2012

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My nephew has my maiden name (my sisters name at the time of her birth). When she got married when he was 4 (not to his bio dad) it was never changed. He will be 16 next month. My sister and her hobby have 3 other kids together, all with his last name. My other sister has a daughter who has her fathers last name. They are not together and my neice has no relationship at all with her dad. My point to this is that a name does not a family make. whether you have the same last name ornot is irrelevant. A family is people who love each other, it shouldn't matter what name they have. You seem to forget that this is his child too, and you are making a unilateral decision and disregarding how he feels. You want to have the baby share the same name as you and your kids, so does he. It seems to me that it is more to do with him not being divorced yet because until he is you don't have hope that your relationship will ever become more permanent. No, you can't force him to get divorced anymore than you can force him to marry you by not giving the baby his name. If you are that insecure in your relationship that you can't talk to him calmly or are so certain it won't work out that you won't give the babe his name, then perhaps it is more than a name that you need to consider. Remember too, whether things work out with you and him, this baby will always be his too and major decisions will always be shared.

Brittany - posted on 04/18/2012

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I'm surprised no one is understanding my situation - if I give the baby his lastname, I will have no option to ever share our last name. Or at least no way to make it happen. I can't force a divorce so ultimatly if I give the baby his name, I am left completely unable to change this myself.



I'm not trying to offend moms who have kept their married names after a divorce. Just trying to ensure I also have a chance to share the name.



Is there anyone here that their children have their last name - like my son and I. I would love to hear your opinions.

Brittany - posted on 04/17/2012

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I did consider it before we decided to have a baby. I was reassured he would be gettting a divorce.



I don't care that she wants to keep the name, that does not bother me. The marriage does though.



I think I will simply give the baby my last name. If in the future he gets divorced I will reconsider should we become engaged. Also this way if he does not get divorced, my son the new baby and I will all have our names in common.



I agree, men are procrastinators - but if it's worth it to him to not deal with it, he knows the outcome. I cannot force a divorce I am not part of. But I can ensure my children will be linked to me through last name. I didn't give my son his fathers name because I was not married. I guess I feel the same this time, expect their marriage is making me a lot more opinionated.

Amanda - posted on 04/17/2012

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My children have different last names because they have different fathers, this does not hurt them, or confuse them. I dont see the issue...



As for her having his last name, it sure didnt bug you when you moved in with him, nor did it bother you when you got pregnant with him, so whats the issue now?



Btw if he cant complete his divorce (and it isnt because they are fighting over pitty stuff) in 2.5 years, you should really rethink your relationship. Esp if you been asking him to do it.

Brittany - posted on 04/17/2012

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He has started the process, they are legally separated *sorry should have added that* but the divorce has not been finalized so he's also still technically married. I don't mind if she wants to keep his last name (they share children, I think she SHOULD keep the last name) - it bothers me because the divorce is not finalized. We can`t be engaged or married in this situation.



If he hasn't attempted to solve this issue, by completing the divorce (the separation agreement was put into place 2.5 yrs ago) I'm scared I shoudn't trust that he is going to get a divorce. Finances are not an issue, he is scared of hurting her feelings. (she's emotionally unstable). And if I can't look forward to ever taking his last name.. I'm unsure why I should have my children walking around with different last names.



Thanks for your responses, I'm really worked up over this - it's the ONLY thing in our relationship we fight about. I just don't understand why if it is important to him to have the new baby have his name - he wouldn't complete the divorce. :( ugh

Brianna - posted on 04/17/2012

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my hubby and i where not married when i got pregnant but we did get engaged when i was like 7 months pregnant so because we were engaged when my daughter was born i gave her my hubbys last name. if we werent engaged i dont think i would of gave her his name

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