Post # 1
Within the past few weeks, I have had a friend and a family member come to me with the same question. How can I change my baby’s last name to mine? I don’t practice family law, so I could only refer them to someone who did…but the question got me thinking.
My cousin (and my friend’s story is almost identical) had a baby with her boyfriend. At the time the baby was born, she and her boyfriend were living together. When it was time to name the baby, she and her boyfriend agreed that the baby should have his last name.
My cousin and her boyfriend broke up when the baby was about six months old. She has not had much contact with him since. He has seen the baby only a handful of times, and it has been about six months since he last called or tried to see her. She is not receiving child support (she has filed, but he works “under the table” and sporadically).
So now, she wants to change the baby’s last name to hers as does a friend of mine who is in a very similar situation. This has made me wonder.
When I was younger, I seem to remember that if a single woman had a baby, the baby was almost always given HER last name. But now, it seems more common that the baby is taking the father’s name. Obviously, there are no “rules” on this, but I was just curious. In your experience, when a couple is unmarried, is there a convention on whose name the baby usually takes? I’m guessing there is no “rule” and the answer is “it depends.”
Obviously, the parents have the right to use whatever last name they want for their baby, but I’m just wondering why that when the trend seems to be that more married women keep their maiden names and that married couples are more open to their children taking the hyphenated last names of both parents, or even taking the mother’s last name, why does it seem (and it could just be my limited sample size), that the children of unmarried parents are now less likely to take the mother’s name than in the past?
Post # 3
My son has my last name. I chose that because if things didn’t work out, I knew I would be the one registering him for school, taking him to Dr. appointments, etc. But I did tell him that if things had worked out and we ended up getting married that both of us would change our names to match his. Needless to say we didn’t work out. He’s married, now getting divorced. The marriage lasted less than 2 years and he’s trying to use the divorce as his reasoning for not seeing his son. He wins the father of the year award, right along with that guy from Virginia who left his 7 year old in the house alone with 19 snakes.
Post # 4
@Megan316: Ugh. But it sounds like you made the right choice in giving your son your name. And I hadn’t thought of your solution, but it makes sense. If you do eventually marry, the child can change his name when you do.
I’m just wondering which is more prevalent now? Do more babies of unmarried babies take the father’s name or the mother’s name. It seems like they are taking the father’s name more often…and I’ve seen a few cases where the mother is now regretting it.
Post # 5
@Neva: This MIGHT vary state-to-state, but I know that in VA if you’re married, the child automatically gets the father’s last name. Whether you’re together or not. (aka married but seperated.)
If you are NOT married, the father HAS to be there to sign the papers giving the child his last name and stating he is the father.
Also, the moment daddy puts his name on the birth certificate, the child gets daddy’s last name.
As long as the father’s name is on the birth certificate, the name doesn’t get changed unless you go through legally changing the name. I’m not sure what the process is, but I do know it involves A LOT of paperwork.
Post # 6
I think it depends on if the father is around and in the child’s life and if he’s willing to sign the birth certificate. It seems when they take off is when the child is given the mother’s name. (talking about single women)
I was a single Mom and my daughter was given my husband’s last name once we were married and he adopted her. Her bio Dad never saw her or was involved in any way.
Post # 7
My husband and I were not yet married when we had our kids but he signed the birth certificates and they both have his last name. He is on his son’s birth certificate but his son has his mom’s last name. My nephew has my maiden name (sister’s last name) and his dad is on his birth certificate too. You can name your kid anything you want so I would assume that to change just the last name, all you’d have to do is go file the paperwork at the courthouse and go from there.