I'm needing to change my four year olds last name to mine.

Alexis - posted on 04/22/2016 ( 5 moms have responded )

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When I had my daughter I gave her, "her dad's" last name. He was not there to sign the birth certificate so I did not put his information down. He was in jail the majority of my pregnancy and wasn't released until a couple of weeks after her birth. We had broken up two weeks after this and then he only saw her a handful of times over the next couple of months until she was about 4 months old and hasn't contacted us since and she'll be four years old in August. So since she'll be starting school I'm trying to get her last name changed to mine. Would I need him to sign over rights first? Or would it be better for me to try and terminate his rights? I need any advice I can get. Thank you in advance!

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Michelle - posted on 04/30/2016

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A name isn't connected with parental rights.
To just change her name you go to the courthouse and fill in the paperwork.
Terminating his rights will require you to get a lawyer and go to court. You will have to prove him to be an unfit Father (not just absent) for the courts to take away his parental rights. It's not something the court does without good reason.

Alexis - posted on 04/30/2016

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I understand he has rights as a "father" however he hasn't contacted her in three and a half years. Just because she has his DNA she still has no clue who he is. I tried for them to have a relationship and he didn't want it. Therefore I need to know if I sent him paperwork to sign over his TECHNICAL rights then could I change her last name?

Michelle - posted on 04/22/2016

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Changing a name has nothing to do with parental rights.
You can change your name to whatever you want through the courts.
I would advise that you make sure you have custody, visitation and child support sorted out as well. Her Father has as much right to see her as you do.

Raye - posted on 04/22/2016

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Shawnn's right. The father CAN contest the name change, and/or the judge may deem that there's not good reason to change it. The father is still the father whether he is listed as such on the birth certificate, or how often he has visited. You do not own this child. Putting your last name on her will not make her more yours than his.

If you want to terminate his rights, you should file for it in court... but most courts won't do it unless:
1) the father is proven to be a danger to the child
2) the father agrees to the termination
3) you are married and your husband is willing to adopt (with bio-father approval)
If none of these three things are relevant to your situation, then there's a good chance you're out of luck.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/22/2016

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First: You don't need to have the same last name as your kid to register in school.

Second: A name change is a legal process. You need to start with your county clerk's office for the procedure. You will need to petition for this change. If there are any respondents to the petition, then the change will be reviewed, the respondents contacted, and a decision made by the courts. If there are no respondents, the change will be granted by the courts. You will need to publish the petition in the newspaper for 6 weeks prior to the court's review.

Third: Regardless of his lack of attendence, he's the kid's father, and he's got rights.

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