How to Change a Kid's Last Name

By Michael Butler

Changing a child's last name is often done as part of another matter, such as a paternity or adoption proceeding. However, you can file an independent proceeding to change your child's last name. A judge will have to determine that the name change is in the best interests of the child. Changing a child's name is subject to individual state laws. The process varies from state to state, but it is generally similar.

Step 1

File a petition for a change of name with a court of original jurisdiction where you live, which is usually a district or family court. Every state has different requirements that you need to include in your petition. In general, you will need to include your name, your address, the child's current name, the requested name, the name and address of the other parent and your legal grounds for the name change. Pay any required fees.

Step 2

Serve the petition on the other parent according to the rules for service of process in your state. The other parent usually must be notified and may have the right to contest your request.

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Step 3

Follow all interim orders of the court. In different states, judges will require that you take different steps. In some states, a guardian ad litem might be appointed to act as an attorney for the child or to represent the best interests of the child. Other orders may include notifying other family members or posting a bond.

Step 4

Ask the court to schedule a hearing on your request when you have fulfilled all of the court's interim orders. Different courts have different ways to request hearings. Ask the clerk of the court for the rules in your jurisdiction.

Step 5

Go to your hearing at the scheduled date and time. You will have the opportunity to state your reasons for wanting your child's last name changed. Focus on reasons that the change is in the best interests of child, as that is the legal standard for your request.

Step 6

File for an amended birth certificate with the state department of vital records in the state in which the child was born, if the judge grants you an order changing the child's last name.

Step 7

File a new application for a Social Security card on the child's behalf. Include a certified copy of the court order granting the name change with your application.

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Filing an Objection to a Name Change in Court
 

References

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How to Legally Change a Child's Last Name in Texas

The Texas Family Code contains the regulations that outline the conditions of changing the name of a minor in the state. Parents, legal guardians or managing conservators, who are court-appointed guardians, may request to alter a child's name for adoptions, custody proceedings and other reasons. Parents must file a petition in the county court where the child resides and pay filing fees.

How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

Name changes for an adult in Ohio are made in the probate court of the county the person lives in. You must file an application to have the case heard by the court. Ohio state laws require a hearing be held on the matter, and the court can deny your name change if you don't give an acceptable reason. Name changes that are for fraudulent purposes, such as to evade legal authorities, are not permitted in Ohio.

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Unless you wish to change the last name of a child you are adopting, you will need a court order to change either the first or last name of a minor child. Name changes are governed by state law, and these laws vary somewhat from state to state. Courts require an acceptable reason before they will grant a name change.

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