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blueberry_kid's avatar

How do I discuss this with my family?

Asked by blueberry_kid (5651 points ) August 1st, 2012

I’ve been wanting a last name change since I was 13. I’ve brought up multiple times with my mom that I would like my last name hyphenated with both her maiden name, and my fathers last name. She said she was okay with it, but she didn’t think it’d be legal, or okay with my father and grandparents.

My biggest dilemma at the moment is discussing this with my grandparents, and father. I haven’t spoken to my father in almost 5 years, which is one of the contributing issues as to why I’d like my last name hyphenated.

Feel free to ask why I’d like it changed, because there are a lot of reasons, but I’m not exactly sure how to discuss this with my family. It’s nothing against my grandparents in any way, I actually love them a lot. But, my father isn’t being a father. And he still hasn’t realized it.

Can you help? How do I do this?

And another thing, is it legal for me to do? Am I allowed to have my name hyphenated if I have both of my parents permission to?

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9 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@blueberry_kid I don’t think you can do this on your own since you are still a minor. I think your mother could petition the courts on your behalf. There is a procedure to do this, but it requires some legal action.

janbb's avatar

I think it is a lovely idea and I think if you can present it to your father’s family as you wanting to honor and include your mother in your name without dissing your father, you may very well find that they will agree.

Look up name change rules on Google (or in Lexis-Nexis) for your state and talk to your folks about it. Good luck!

Adagio's avatar

From a legal perspective I don’t imagine your grandparents would have any say in the matter, although perhaps someone will correct me. I changed my last name by deed poll but did so at the age of 33, so unlike you, not a minor.

YARNLADY's avatar

In California, the name you use is your legal name. My 13 year old son changed his name by using only his new name and no other name. This became automatically legal when he turned 18. He told me and the rest of the family his new name IS his name, period.

JLeslie's avatar

I always recommend against hyphenating. Americans aren’t very good with them. They don’t like to have to say two names (unless the names happen to be very short) and they file things under the wrong names. Some people think the last nake after the hyphen is actually the last name, when really it is the first last name that is how things should be filed under.

Also, If you are female, I think you are, will you take your partners name when you marry? If you get married? Just another thing to think about, because you would actually only have your mom and dad’s name for a few years maybe?

Why not make her maiden name your middle name?

But, I am not trying to pursuade you away from doing it, really, just telling you some of the thoughts I have.

My husband’s name is his first name, then his dad’s last name, and then his mom’s last name. That is how it works in Mexico, and some other countries, all children have their mom’s last name as their second last name. In America you actually can have two last names without the hyphen, but I am not sure if that is better or not. When my husband came to America he dropped his mom’s last name, but many people move it to the middle.

Depends on the state you live in what you can do. Most likely you would need your parents to agree to it if you are under 18, and it is usually not a very big deal to change your name. You can pick up the paperwork at the courthouse or possibly find it on line, fill it out, there is usually a court date, and then it is done. The fees are usually minimal. Changing your middle name is probably simpler, as surnames are scrutinized more typically. Some states are much easier than what I described, but what I wrote is probably the most complicated it would be. Your grandparents have no legal say over these matters.

I think it is very nice you want to include your mom’s name, I can’t imagine your father would not be ok with you adding it in somewhere. Talk to him.

emeraldisles's avatar

Do what you feel is necessary. Not everyone gets married. Just be mature about it, I guess.

bolwerk's avatar

One easy thing to do is wait until you’re 18.

Bellatrix's avatar

It sounds as though this is something you have been thinking about for a while and isn’t something you want to do on a whim. I think the previous suggestion from @janbb that you suggest you want to honour your mother (rather than diminish the emphasis on your father’s name) is a sound one. If you focus on that it is harder for your father’s family to get upset about you changing your name. If they do disagree, if you are sure about this change you can do it once you become an adult.

As to marriage, I don’t use my husband’s name so it may be that your name is the name you use for life. My daughters wanted to change their surname to my name for quite a long time. I wasn’t opposed to them doing this but I did counsel them to think about how it might affect their future relationship with their father. I am not trying to persuade you to not to change your name, but I do think you are being very wise to consider your father’s and his family’s feelings before you make the change.

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