Lawyers suggest beginning with your strongest argument and sticking to the reasons that have a factual basis without clouding your presentation with irrelevant statements. Parents may seek a minor name change for their child for a variety of reasons. Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images. Some other fairly common reasons include: Taking the natural father's name (e.g., after being born out of wedlock or adopted). Most states and judges require that both parents agree before they will change a child's name. The procedures and ease of a name change vary between jurisdictions. To argue for the name change of a minor child, you must address the factors considered by the court. Their new name has to consist of one surname and one or more other names. Consult with the child's other parent. Her reasoning is that Hussein is a very important name to Muslims and that by renouncing his Muslim Heritage he should change his name so as to not give credence to their beliefs. Parents want the child to identify as a part of the new family. The child had the surname of the father (Pappel) and the mother applied to have the child’s name changed to her new husband’s last name (Bergen). At a hearing on the petition, the mother testified that during her pregnancy, she and the father “discussed” the child having both parties’ last names. One parent can apply alone if: they are the only parent named on the child’s birth certificate or; the other parent is deceased or; a court has specifically approved the new name for the child. It must state all of these: Your current legal name and the name you want. Have each child sign and date his/her letter. Legally change your child's name before they turn 18 in person by booking an interview appointment or by post. For example, the child has been known by the given name for a significant period of time and not changing the child's registered … Jessica Peterson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images, Absent Father Returns to the Child's Life, 6 Common Questions about Child Custody and Visitation. She has edited several books and her work has been published in The Knoxville News-Sentinel, The Springfield Daily News, The Georgetown Times and Natural Awakenings magazine. On the other hand, most courts consider the length of time a child has used a certain surname and lean against changing a name when it has been used for a long time. The age and ability of the child to understand the significance of changing his or her name. You can change all or part of your child’s name. Terminating Visitation Due to Incarceration, How to Change a Baby's Last Name in Tennessee, Northwestern Legal Services: Name Change in Pennsylvania for Minor Children, Florida Bar Journal: Determining the Best Interest of the Child: The Resolution of Name Disputes in Paternity Actions, Nina E. Kallen: Oral Arguments: Tips and a Tale, Rhode Island Divorce, Child Custody & Family Law Info Center: RI Paternity and Custody: Name Change of Child, Marital Litigation in South Carolina: Roy T. Stuckey. Once a new name is recorded as the primary name, ensure that the previous primary name is indicated as the former name in GCMS. Some lawyers advise limiting your arguments to the three strongest points, while addressing issues that might contradict your case in a factual manner. If the other parent will not agree, you may still ask the court for a change and explain your reasons at a hearing. In general, common law jurisdictions have loose procedures for a name change while civil law jurisdictions are more restrictive. Legal Name Change. Your birthdate and place of birth. A child’s legal name will be the name on their birth certificate which is used for legal, administrative and official purposes. These reasons could be for adoption, domestic violence, and more. The easiest way to convince a judge is to point to the factors put forth in state laws that support the request. Why you might want to change your name. You will still have all the same legal responsibilities and obligations; you will simply be known by a different name. Changing your child's name. Valerie Stevens is a professional writer and editor based in the Carolinas. Note for residents of Allegheny or Lancaster Counties: Our documents are designed to meet state requirements for requesting a name change. A parent might request a name change for a minor child to protect the child from potential harm. For school, single mom’s want to have their child’s last name be the same  as their own last name To register a change of name for your child (under 18 years) both parents must complete the application. When a stepparent adopts a child, courts take a similar approach. For example, a name change may be granted where a parent has committed a notorious crime in the community and the child suffers harassment because of bearing his or her parents' surname. The easiest way to convince a judge is to point to the factors put forth in state laws that support the request. For example, if a child is known by the surname of a father who has been convicted of serious crimes, the argument can be made that the child would be better off using another name. As a result, the father might request a name change for the child, who might have the mother's maiden name or another last name of the mother's choosing. However typical reasons people change their name … A name change may not be allowed if the court thinks that the change might affect the rights of another person such as a creditor or the other parent of the child. A parent who wishes to seek a minor name change will have to work with the court system. That process can only be done through the Changes Unit in the State Vital Records office. Name change generally refers to the legal act by a person of adopting a new name different from their current name.. She was an editor at daily newspapers for 20 years and now works as a paralegal. To change a child’s name, you must start a separate case in district court. You must: 1. Regardless, her name change was motivated by simplification. There are various reasons for requesting a name change. Pennsylvania Name Change Requirements. Dislike Current Name. Often if one of the child’s parents is absent from the child’s life, the child will not have a strong connection to the name and hence, the child may request a name change of his/her own accord.   A judge would decide whether or not to grant a child’s request. When a family adopts a child, changing the child's last name to match that of the family just makes sense. In a closed or open adoption, the child enters the home bearing the last name of either their birth mother or birth father. However, if there is no concrete reason to change the child's name, besides animosity, there's a strong chance that a judge would not grant this type of minor name change request. If changing a child’s name would cause a break in a parent-child relationship, courts tend to rule against the change. Changing your child's name is a significant personal choice for you and your child. Depending on how the birth parent and t… Have changed the name of your child(ren) before All original Canadian change of name certificates. If a mother with sole custody divorces the natural father and remarries, a judge is likely to favor changing the child’s surname to that of the stepfather if other factors support the change. After finalizing the adoption, the last name of the child is legally changed to match that of the adopting family. In a divorce petition, when a women requests to return to her maiden name, she can request a separate petition to request her child's name change too. For each child 12 to 18 years of age A letter handwritten in ink by your child(ren) providing his/her reasons for wanting a change of name. A pseudonym is a name used in addition to the original or true name. To add to his cruelty, he told her that their first child (me) had been named by him after this other woman. In general, however, any lawful reason that does not violate any state laws or infringe upon the rights of anyone else typically satisfies most courts, whether that reason be for religious, personal or social reasons. For example it might be difficult to convince a judge to change the name of a 15-year-old unless his best interest clearly would be served by the change. A child’s legal name can only be changed via deed poll or through a change of the child’s birth certificate in certain circumstances (see ‘Changing a child’s name via … Make sure you register the new name and get a new birth certificate. If any of the children are 14 or older, each child must complete a consent. You must clearly present reasons to the court in a written petition, oral arguments or both. When a mother marries a man who is not her child’s father and decides to take his surname, she often wants her child to take her new last name. If a child is adopted, an adoptive parent will probably want to change the child's name to his/her own family name. If the Name Change is for a child and one parent formally objects, the judge has a harder decision. The specific guidelines courts take into consideration vary from state to state, but the overriding factor in determining the best interest of the child is determining what fosters the natural bond between the child and his parents and maintains family unity. Obtaining a legal name change in court does not automatically change the name on your birth record. A judge would give strong consideration to this request, as the court's main concern is the best interests of the child. It is important to recognize that after a name change, you are still the same person. Deciding on a name Most names can be registered but not all. This is the form the judge signs to grant the child's name change. In that case, the father proved that it would not be in the child’s best interests to have a complete change of last name. The reason the petitioning parent states for the proposed change; The motive of the petitioning parent and the possibility the child's use of a different name will cause insecurity or a lack of identity; The difficulty, harassment, or embarrassment the child may experience if the child bears a surname different than that of the custodial parent; Although … Do Minors Need Parental Permission Under the Pennsylvania Name Change Laws? Stevens holds degrees in journalism and paralegal studies. Valid reasons for a name change may include professional reasons, in honor of a deceased loved one or the parents simply changed their mind after legally naming the child and would like to have their preferred selection legally recognized. The county you live in. The fact that a child is known to schools and doctors by a certain name could contribute to a decision to keep that name. The most common reasons for name changes include marriage or divorce. Both parents would have to agree to the minor name change in this case. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. However, most modern courts consider a specific list of factors in determining what is best for the child, as opposed to the parents, when ruling on name changes. Safety and protection concerns might justify a change of a child's name. You don't need to have any kind of valid reason to change your name, so long as it is not for any fraudulent purpose, such as avoiding paying a debt or fulfilling an obligation — you are free to change your name at any time. Judges will consider whether a child could suffer embarrassment by having a different name from the rest of his family. The key to making an argument to change a child’s name is to present the legal reasons for the change and show a judge that it is in the best interests of the child. The standard most courts apply when making decisions about changing a child’s name is that the change should be in the best interests of the child. To argue in favor of a name change, you must show that the change will preserve the family unit. Fill out a Petition for Change of Name. You must clearly present reasons to the court in a written petition, oral arguments or both. While courts will consider the wishes of a child who is of the age and maturity to establish a legitimate preference, many judges give the wishes of the parents more weight. Psychologists or other experts can also be used to bolster your argument. Debrina Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. 1. A name change request can come about simply because a person doesn't like his or her name as given at birth. The general consensus is that a child should have the same name as the family he lives with. However, if either parent objects to the name change, the court will try the case to determine whether the name change is in the child's best interest. The mother petitioned the Supreme Court for permission to change the child’s surname by hyphenating the father’s surname with the mother’s surname. Note a change of name in a birth or adoption register . Here are some reasons why a parent might pursue a minor name change after birth. See “How Do I get a Court Ordered Name Change for a Minor”, below. Reasons for a Name Change. What you can change your child’s name to. Perhaps they'd prefer something more unique than Britney or Ashley or something less unique than a homespun name that combined parents' names. Find out what you need to do to have your new married name recognised or change your name back to your previous name. Marriage is a common reason that parents seek a legal surname change for a minor child. If the father and mother agree to the name change, the court will usually hold a hearing to confirm that the child wants his name changed, and the name change will be approved. But he did add to it. Name change after marriage, separation or divorce. The length of time a child has used a certain name also factors into his identity within the community. I changed my name as fast as I legally could.” ― Brooke C. Because I Was Sick Of Being Teased About My ‘Hippie’ Name “I changed my first name when I was over 40 years old. If a change of name is approved, the new name as indicated on the legal change of name document will be recorded as the primary name in IRCC’s system of record and will be the name that appears on any new document(s) issued by IRCC. I’d thought about it for a long time, having always disliked my given name. The name change process varies from state to state. Changing your family name after marriage, separation or divorce. It might be in the child's best interests to change his or her name. The degree of respect associated with the current and proposed names also can be a factor. Parent's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf fillable) A child age 14 or older must consent to their own name change. It may be based on events such as divorce, or it may simply be based on dissatisfaction with the name. The court can authorize a change of name for a child in the case of abandonment by the father or mother, in the case of deprivation of parental authority or in the case of a change of filiation, for example by adoption. Each child 12-18 must also sign in Part 2A - Child's Consent. The key to making an argument to change a child’s name is to present the legal reasons for the change and show a judge that it is in the best interests of the child. Here are some of the most popular reasons people decide to change their names. If you have religious, philosophical or cultural reasons to have only one name, you need to include a letter of explanation with your application. How to change your child's name. How do I change my name by court order? Leaving the Past Behind Whether you want to cut ties with your family of origin because of abuse or a falling out, or you want to take your stepfather’s surname but your biological father wouldn’t permit it when you were a child, changing your name gives you the freedom to be who you want to be. My Brother in Law did not change his name, per se, when he became a citizen. Some courts might appoint a guardian ad litem, who is a lawyer or trained volunteer who represents the child, and judges will give weight to this person's opinion. A father who might have been absent for a child's earlier years might return to a child's life and develop a strong bond with the child. A change of name costs $190.90. Historically, paternity was usually the deciding factor: The child used the father's surname. Child's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf) Child's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf fillable) Order for Child's Name Change - required. A parent may prefer to change a child's name sometime after the birth certificate and records have been filed. Parents should consult a legal professional in their state for information on changing the name of a minor child after birth. Also if a parent remarries and a stepparent is adopting a child, both the child's parent and the stepparent can request a name change in court. 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