How to Change the Last Name of a Child in Georgia

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

How to Change the Last Name of a Child in Georgia

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

Changing the last name of a child in Georgia has some requirements, including filing a petition, posting the request in a local newspaper, and obtaining consent of the parent(s) or guardian.

Mother reading a newspaper, while smiling at an infant sitting next to her on a couch

There could be a few reasons why someone might want to change the last name of a child. For example, if the child is raised by the mother, and the father isn't present, the mother may want the child to have her last name. Additionally, if one parent is deceased, the other parent may change the last name of a child.

Below are the steps required to change the last name of a child in Georgia.

1. Present a petition to superior court.

If you want to change your child's last name, you must file a petition requesting the name change with the superior court in the county where your child lives. In this petition, you must describe the reasons for the name change.

2. File a notice.

Within seven days of filing your petition, you must post a notice in your local newspaper stating your desire to change your child's last name. In the notice, you'll include your child's current name, the desired new name, the court where you filed the petition, the date you submitted the petition, and a statement giving anyone a right to object to the name change. This notice must run for four weeks.

3. Obtain consent of parent(s).

If the child's parent(s) are living and have not abandoned the child, then they must complete and sign a consent allowing the name change. This consent must be attached to the petition filed in the superior court. If, however, they haven't contributed to the support of the child for the previous five years or more, then the court doesn't require consent.

4. Send petition copies.

When you petition to have a child's name changed, the parent(s) receive a copy of the petition. If the child lives with a guardian, then that person gets a copy of the petition.

5. Grant name change.

If no objection to the name change occurs, then the court grants the request after 30 days in cases where the parent(s) or guardian live in the same state. If they live outside the state, the court grants the request after 60 days.

If an objection to the name change occurs, then litigation may arise. These cases can become complicated, and you'll need to hire an experienced domestic relations attorney. Georgia courts place a high value on consent and the best interests of the child. If you get into a contentious situation, you don't want to navigate that alone.

Before you decide to change your child's name, you may have questions about the process in Georgia. If you do, you should consult with an attorney or use an online service provider for assistance or guidance. By seeking legal advice, you can navigate through this process knowing that you're gaining peace of mind for both you and your child.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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