Do you want to change your child's name? This can happen for many reasons, not the least of which is that some parents end up less enamored with the name they chose for their baby. But it can also involve adoptions, remarriages, or broken relationships with the other parent.
Whatever the reason, can you change your little one's name? And if so, what obstacles might you face? Here's what you need to know.
Can You Change a Child's Name?
First of all, yes, you can change minor children's legal names. This may only be done by parents or legal guardians, and it requires some legal steps, but it's not as complex as many legal matters. Name changes can include one, two, or all of the names on the child's birth certificate.
New parents should wait until the original name documents have been properly filed so as to avoid confusion. The name change process could take a few months, so undertake it with enough time to ensure that your child won't need official documentation (such as legal identification) until it's completed.
What Challenges Occur During a Name Change?
If both parents agree to the change, the process can be fairly straightforward. You will likely be required to petition the court and wait weeks or months for a court date. You may also be called on to explain the reason for the name change, especially if it's a serious departure from the existing name.
If only one parent initiates the name change, the next move depends on the other's status. If the other parent holds no parental rights or is deceased, proceedings can generally continue with just one parent's signature. If the other parent has legal rights, you may have to serve them with a notice of the name change and give time for them to object. And if the other parent is missing, you may need to publish a notice in the newspaper.
Finally, older children are often allowed to participate in the name change. The rules vary by state, but your teenager may need to agree to the new name as well.
Where Should You Start?
Although changing the name of a minor can be relatively streamlined, it may also be complicated by your family situation. A good place to begin is to consult with a lawyer in your state of residence. They will guide you through this process and help avoid any potential stumbling blocks, errors, and delays. Make an appointment today to learn more.Share
19 January 2022
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