How to Change a Child's Last Name to My Married Name

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

How to Change a Child's Last Name to My Married Name

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Changing a child's last name to your married name can be a simple process, as long as the child's other parent agrees to the name change. If there is disagreement between you and the child's other parent, a court may have to get involved. And, ultimately, the decision may rest with the judge.

Two parents sitting with a child

1. Speak to your child's other parent.

If you want to change your child's last name to your married name, the first step is to talk to the other parent about the issue. Reaching out before starting the process shows a sign of respect. This can reduce the possibility of future conflict. Also, depending on the particular circumstances, such as how involved the other parent is, they may not object to a change in the child's last name.

If the parent agrees to the name change, ask them to sign a consent form or a petition for name change. This form can be obtained at your local county courthouse. If the other parent does not consent to the name change, they must be served and a court hearing is held before a judge.

2. Obtain a petition for name change.

To begin the process of changing your child's last name, you must obtain a petition for name change at the county courthouse. Both parents must sign the petition. Ask the county clerk if there are any other forms you must fill out. For example, in New Jersey, you must also submit a certification explaining why you want the child's last name changed. Each state has a different process for legally changing a name, so be sure to follow your state's requirements.

3. Submit all required paperwork.

Complete the Petition for Name Change and submit it to the courthouse, along with all of the other required paperwork. Some states need a signed consent form from the child. If the child's father has signed a consent form, submit that as well.

4. Give a copy to the child's other parent.

You must give notice to the child's other parent that you have filed for a name change. You can do this by simply giving the parent a copy of the filed paperwork. If you wish to do this by mail as opposed to in person, some states allow you to give notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. In other states, if you do not know where the child's other parent is located, you can give notice by publishing it in a newspaper.

5. Appear at court for a hearing.

If a hearing is necessary, the county clerk lets you know what day to appear before a judge. If your child's other parent objects to the name change, they can file a written objection prior to the hearing or simply show up at the hearing and object to the change. You then have the right to present your side of the story and explain why the name change is in your child's best interest.

6. Request a new birth certificate for your child.

If a judge approves the name change, contact the Department of Public Records in your state to find out how to request a new birth certificate for your child.

Changing your child's last name to your married name takes a few steps but can be fairly easy to accomplish. If you would like more information on how to do this, contact an online service provider today.

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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