Post # 1
I have a 3 almost 4 year. The birth Father ingored me my entire pregancy and refused to come to the birth. I am now engaged and I am getting married in March. My son has MY last name and the father is not even known on the birth certificate. He finally met his son after he was 1 1/2 years old. He doesnt pay child support, only when he feels like it and he has been arrested for it. I am not going to ask him to give his rights up so my fiance can adopt until a little down the road. I want to make sure it is the right time in the birth fathers life to ask him that so there is no chance of him changing his mind and wanting to see his child after 4 years.
My question is. Am I legally able in the state of florida to change his last name to my new married name. He has my last name right now, and I think I should have the right to change his last name just so that he and I have the same last name. I do realize that it wont change anything in the legal aspect with his father. I just want to be able to change it so I dont have to worry about having a different last name. I have been a single mom for 3 years and we have always had the same last name and it kills me to think of us not having the same last name. I know the birth father has to legally give his rights over for my fiance to adopt him. But I dont want that yet, I just simply want to change the name on the birth certificate. If I was able to do it in the hospital, why can’t I now? Does anyone out there know the laws on this?
Post # 3
@SashaSheree:You want to change your son’s last name to your Fiance last name?
Post # 4
I would think you should be able to change his last name to match yours. Maybe check with human services in your area
Post # 5
Correct me if I’m wrong but since his name isn’t even on the birth certificate, does he even have any rights to your child at all?
Post # 6
If the father isn’t on the birth cert, does he have any rights to give up in the first place?
I would imagine it’s just a simple change of name form if you are the only person on the birth cert. Check with your state laws on name changes.
Post # 7
If the biological father has been arrested for not paying child support then paternity has been established and he does have rights as the child’s father. I mean- didn’t you guys go to court to have the order for child support and at that time did they not set terms regarding all of that? If I am reading your post right (correct me if i’m not) you want to recieve child support from him , but also you want to make all the decisions yourself regarding your child. Thats kind of asking to have it both ways. Whether or not his name is on the birth certificate is irrelevant- just because you didn’t name his as the father doesn’t negate his rights.
I don’t mean to be all negative, but I kind of speak from experience as I have a child with my ex husband, who doesn’t act like her father either. My new husband is wonderful and would love to adopt her and I would like to change her name- but I can’t legally- because her father has rights. It kind of sucks, but thats the way it is- at least where I live.
Post # 8
@eeniebeans:I personally think it’s a bit forward to change your son’s name before marriage and prior to the official adoption.
Post # 9
Yes I agree that if the father IS paying child support (whether you get a check every month or not) then he does have legal rights to the child. The only way you would be able to change that is if you and his father decided to cancel any and all child support payments and sever contact.
Post # 10
Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer and I do not live in Florida! An hour of face to face time with a family law lawyer would be invaluable in this situation.
That said, I have been in a very similar circumstance and I did change my son’s last name to my ex-husband’s last name after we married. My then husband insisted we do it and told me it was his first step towards adopting my son. Huge mistake. Seriously, HUGE. I still use my married name because it’s my son’s legal last name. I would very much like to switch back to my maiden name for personal reasons but my son has said “If you do that, who will I belong to? No one!” A bit of back story – my ex raised my son with me from 18 mos to 9 years old. The day we separated, the ex decided he was done being daddy and hasn’t seen him since. I begged and pleaded with my ex not to abandon him but he absolutely refused to budge. Four years later, my son is still devestated and in therapy about it.
If your son currently has your last name, I would think long and hard before changing it. I certainly did not get married with the intention of ever getting divorced but that’s exactly what happened. If your Fiance decides to adopt your son after you are married, by all means, change it then! My solution to the whole mess is going to be hyphenating with my old and new married names until my son is 18 and can change is name to whatever he decides on.
ETA – From what I recall, you cannot change your son’s last name on his birth certificate until he is 18, at which time your son can petition to have it changed. Until then, you need a copy of the court order changing his last name to prove that his last name is legally “Jones”.
Post # 11
I have looked into this before. It does not matter if their is a father on the birth certificate or not. That person still has rights and if he is paying child support or getting arrested because he doesn’t those rights to the child have been established. In what I have seen you can’t change your son’s name without the approval of the birth father. Even if you say you don’t want him to give up birth rights you have to get his approval on the name change.
Post # 12
Agree w/Miss Pink Scrubs on this one!
But if you have sole custody then I believe you can do as you wish, but if he is (the x) paying CS, I would consult my attny on this.
I too, have worried over this and my son has made noises about having or wanting to have same last name as my husband (and I).
It’s a difficult situation, but do make sure legally you’re doing the right thing.
Stop by the encore board (for those who have been married before) and ask them. I bet alot of the brides there have great suggestions or have been thru this very thing too!
Fwiw, when I divorced, I hyphenated my last name-x last name and my son has my x’s last name. I did that so my sons’ teachers would know I was his mom (my x remarried instantly). Now, I have a hyphenated last name I’m changing to my DH’s last name, and my son (I have sole custody) has xh last name. There will be some cha cha changes in 2011!
Post # 13
@soladylike – I completely agree with you. I did not get the impression that the original poster was suggesting changing the name prior to her marriage however, only prior to a legal adoption. Both of which are irrelevant without the Bio dad’s consent.
Post # 14
In MA I cannot change her name without permission of her father.
Post # 15
Stop by the court and ask them first. Will your child’s father consent to this? If so, it could just be a matter of paying some court fees and filling out some forms.
For reasons previosuly stated, it might not be the best idea to change your son’s name unless and until yoru FH legally adopts him.
Post # 16
From Florida’s official website.
Omissions of child’s given name(s) may be made up to the child’s 7th birthday without supporting documentation.
Corrections to a child’s name (other than misspellings, typographical errors, or omissions) may be made only if documentary evidence
supporting the correction can be provided. In all cases, such changes to a minor child’s name will be made ONLY if both parents named
on the birth record (if both are named) are in agreement and sign the required affidavit before a notarizing official. If both parents are not
in agreement or not available to sign, the name can only be amended by a legal change of name (court order).