Post # 1
I’ve been going back and forth on this one and I just don’t know what to do!
My son is 9, has never once met/talked to/anything at all with his biological father. I do receive child support monthly due to a court order that was put in place when he was born. I was awarded sole legal custody when he was a baby in large part because of the lack of contact.
So, now we all are getting married 🙂 There will be vows with my fiance and son, he does want a ring (he had a choice between that and something else special and lasting…the ring will match my fiances and because it is very cheap, we can replace as he grows). I know that he will not feel that anything is missing as far as us being a “real” family…we really already are. We have been together for 2 1/2 years. This is just us becoming an “official” family.
So….do we keep our name and just go along that way…or do I make contact with the bio father and potentially change everything?? I know that his life situation has changed, he is no longer working around the country in different locations every summer, has married and has a house on the golf course in a southeastern state. I’m afraid he might decide he wants to start to get to know this son (he had an older son with an ex-wife who he really didn’t get to have much of a relationship with)….ugh….it just seems like such a gamble!
My fiance would love to make it official and adopt him, even to just do a name change we would have to contact him….
Any thoughts? Advice? Experience with something like this??
Post # 3
BUMP….yeah…I didn’t pick a place and it went to Accessories…sorry!!
Post # 4
i think an 9yr is old enough to tell you his feelings and he should be asked before any decisions are made about his identity on his behalf. i dont know the legalities of needing bio dads permission though
Post # 5
Have you consulted a lawyer about this? If you’re 100% sure that bio dad has to be involved, I’d let sleeping dogs lie. A simple name change doesn’t seem worth rocking the boat, especially since you are already making sure your son feels like part of the new family
Post # 6
@eloping: This is definitely his family, he has been calling my fiance “dad” since the day after we got engaged when he got up the courage to ask me what he would call him 🙂
@msfahrenheit: I did – that is the law in Minnesota, even for the name change. Feel like it was for Social Security card change……I know it would mean a lot to my fiance if we changed our names, but I just worry that it could end up really opening a can of worms. Since I have sole custody and we will be married, I can work with a lawyer to do as much as possible to make sure that if anything happened to me my son would remain with my husband to be…agh
…I wish it could all be complicated stuff like how to make my centerpieces!! 😉
Post # 7
Would you be open to hyphenating your own name so you were sort of the “tie in” between your Fiance and your son? I’m assuming your son has your maiden name? That’s what my mom did and it was nice and made us feel more cohesive (I was 10, brothers were 7 and 4-ish). Just another option so you wouldn’t have to contact the unpredictable bio-dad.
Btw, I think it’s great that you guys are tying him in so much! That is so important, especially with a child that age. When my step-dad proposed, he proposed to all of us. 🙂 For each one of us who said yes (obviously all of us) he added a charm to a necklace. Then he presented the necklace to my mom and then he popped out the ring. 😉 I still remember and I was like 9.
ETA: The above suggestion was just another option being thrown out there. I in no way think that names alone make a family. Far from it! Both of my little sisters only have my step-dad’s last name and we aren’t any less sisters IMO.
Also, good luck! What does your Fiance think? And I do think that consulting a lawyer and making sure your Fiance is the one your son would stay with in case of a disaster is key.
Post # 8
I have a similar-ish situation. I have sole legal and physical custody of my daughter; we don’t even know where her bio dad is and haven’t for 7 years. I had to petition for custody in his absence; if we decide as a family in the future that Fiance will adopt our daughter, we’ll likely have to petition to remove the bio dad’s parental rights and then adopt/name change.
It’s really tricky. I understand the hesitation, because it’s really scary to think about opening yourself and your son up to contact with his bio dad that he (your son) may not be interested in having. My inclination is to leave it alone – names don’t make a family. But I would also ensure that as much as possible is done legally to protect your son. I don’t know that anything you do in the way of paperwork would keep your son with your Fiance if something happened to you, though. I think consulting a lawyer and finding out what the options are in that scenario, because that would be the only reason I think I would pursue a name change and adoption on the part of Fiance.
Post # 9
I would absolutly contact a lawyer and see how good your chances are before doing an adoption. From how you desribe your ex he may want to give up his rights so he doesn’t have to pay support any longer.
As for the name change. I would be very careful about that.My brother adopted his wife’s children. I don’t know if the court made them or they decide on their own but they went couseling during the adoption process. . He came into their lives when they were Five and eighteen months. His son barely had any memories of his bio dad and hadn’t seen him in years.
So we were all shocked when he reacted so strongly and has such high anxiety about changing his last name in addition to him feeling forced to call my brother Dad. In the end they did go through with the adoption and they decide both he and his sister would keep their last names. Kids for whatever reasons may react in ways we dont’ expect them too. He calls my brother by his first name, but when talking to others refers to him as Dad. I guess that just his preference. Good luck with everything!
Post # 10
@AmeliaBedelia: Wow….def got me crying on that one! What an incredibly thoughtful and sweet way your step-dad included you! My son helped my fiance pick out my ring and was there for a proposal…he’s very very excited and happy about the situation.
@TwoCityBride: I think I finally convinced my fiance that we need to talk to a lawyer to see exactly how much we can protect my son if we don’t go the adoption route — he is most worried about that. I don’t think he realizes how many rights an absent parent still has if they want to come back into the picture….
Post # 11
If your ex isn’t vindictive you maybe able to even by pass a court fight. My Sis in laws case was different from yours because he hadn’t pay child support. In the end even though she felt icky about doing it, she hired someone to track down the deadbeat dad, and explain she was going to pursue back child support if he did not sign(that was her lawyers advice). He signed right away. His parents weren’t happy about their son losing custody, but they still get to see thier grandchildren so everyone is kind of happy. It’s also important because if anything happened to you, your son could be sent to live with your ex! Contacting a lawyer is a great first step.