Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can a parent change their kid's last name if the father has had no contact in over 3 years?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42445points) October 29th, 2014

My son married a woman a year ago, and she has yet to change her name from her previous marriage. She doesn’t want it to be a different name from her son, Jayden. I totally relate. When Rick asked me to marry him I told my son, who was 18 at the time, that I was fretting over changing my name.
He said, “You mean we can’t call you “Mom” anymore?” Totally made me laugh and relax!
So, my son is kind of upset over this and I sorta see his point.
Now, he wants to adopt Jayden, but it’s an expensive process and they just don’t have the funds to do it right now. Plus, they’d have to hire a lawyer to prove abandonment on the part of Jayden’s father to get his parental rights terminated. He doesn’t pay child support, either.

So, is there a way to change Jayden’s last name that doesn’t require all kinds of legal maneuvering and expense?

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42 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would guess he can get the forms from any office supply shop and petition the court without an attorney. I’ve done deeds and mortgages myself and I’m far from an attorney. Want me to look into it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve done it too, in Sedjwick county. But they frown on self-representation in Cowley county where we live. :( Sucks.

But yeah…if you can find the paperwork, that would be awesome.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Okay, I have to run to the post office. It’s on the way. Let me see what they have.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re awesome.
All thoughts of revenge have vanished.
For now.

Cupcake's avatar

To change the child’s name, he would either need the father’s permission or to prove that the father does not have rights (in NY that would be due to abandonment – not visiting or paying for the child in a certain amount of time). Then you would proceed with the name change.

Both (adoption and name change) require the same proof in court.

I’ve been through this with my husband attempting to adopt my son. Long story short, the rapist father showed up in court and prevented the adoption. Before we could go to hearing to prove that the father had no rights, our lawyer time exceed our retainer (due to many emails and demands from rapist father) and we had to drop the case. Lawyers ain’t cheap.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Okay, got it. And I forgot about the revenge. A lousy memory is handy sometimes. Your state should have a courthelp web site. In NY it’s www.nycourthelp.gov. The forms are there, and here they’re interactive so you can fill it out online and print it off. It’s the Name Change Petition Program. It has the form and instructions how to proceed. And I only got body scanned twice. Sometimes revenge comes in many forms :)

jca's avatar

If it’s a child (a minor) does that minor need both parents’ signatures in order to do a name change?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s looking like it, or he needs to give up parental rights. Wish she was going after him for child support. It would be a lot easier to get that done. That’s the leverage I used to adopt my oldest daughter.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What isn’t clear is whether your daughter-in-law and her son want to change their last name. If they do, then it is understandable that you wish to help out on the research end. Otherwise, isn’t this a private matter for them to sort out?

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Then if he needs to sign for the name change, don’t count on him being cooperative if he’s not with anything else.

jca's avatar

Good point by @Pied_Pfeffer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he hasn’t been around for years, so there no cooperation issue.

@Pied_Pfeffer They got married. She’s hesitating to change her last name to my son’s last name. I understand that, but my son is a little upset. It would be easier for everyone if they could all have the same last name.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III Unless she doesn’t want to. Surely it is her prerogative to decide?

(Someday – when you have nothing else to do, I’d be curious to see your family tree. I find your relationships entirely baffling.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

She wants to, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to change it away from her son’s last name.

I’m a little baffled myself, @janbb! But my family tree is pretty normal. It’s just my family that’s baffling.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ain’t they all!

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: IF he is on the birth certificate, then I am betting his cooperation is required for any name change of his child, whether or not he’s being “a dad” in other ways.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or if they could get him on abandonment charges, he could lose his rights. But, again, money.

jca's avatar

Money and lots of time and effort.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is still unclear to me. It is understandable that the DIL doesn’t want to have a different last name than her son’s. What I don’t understand is why your son is a ‘little upset’. Did both the wife and son say they want to change their last name? Is it a bigger priority to your son than it is to his wife? Is it possible that she is avoiding any contact her son’s father? Have they asked for your assistance in this matter?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, they both want to change their names.

Yes, apparently it is a bigger problem to my son than it is to his wife. Don’t know why. Guy thing, I guess. However they have 5 people in the family. Two of them, Jenna and her son by a previous marriage, have one last name, and three of them, my son and his two daughters, have my son’s last name.

I’m sure she wants to avoid contact with her son’s father.

Yes. We were talking about it this morning, and I told her I’d do some checking around to see what options they might have that could circumvent the need to contact the father and a lawyer. She thanked me.

@Adirondackwannabe was a big help. But I think he did it to stop me from continuing to plot revenge on him for something he said. At any rate, it worked. Maybe.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @Dutchess_III The additional details are helpful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No prob. Yeah, she said that Jayden wants to change his name. Chris IS is father, the only one he’s ever known.

I had to correct Jenna today, though. She used the term “Real father.” I said, “Biological father.” I’m kind of sensitive to that term “real father / mother” because of my relationship with my oldest daughter. She was from my husband’s previous marriage. So many people just did NOT believe I could actually love her as much as I loved my my “real kids, ” to use their insensitive words. Man, it pissed me off.

chyna's avatar

I have to say something here. You have given out your kids names, their kids names and now, just in case someone is having trouble finding those kids, you have given out the county they live in. You have posted pictures of your son’s house. @Dutchess_III you have to be more careful about divulging so much information on your grandkids. Have you never seen where people find kids and do awful things to them? Please be more careful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m not worried about it. If I was, I wouldn’t have an account here, and I CERTAINLY wouldn’t have a facebook account!

chyna's avatar

Maybe you should worry about it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

When I changed my son’s name, I had to publish a notice in the paper since his bio dad was not in the picture. If his bio dad wanted to stop it, he could’ve responded to the notice in the paper. He did not, so the name change was approved by the court.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There you go @Seaofclouds! Let me check. I’m not even sure if he lives in this state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@chyna Actually, they don’t live in Cowley county so….

Dutchess_III's avatar

How did the ad read @Seaofclouds?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Chyna had a good point. Be careful. And I’m not concerned at all with the revenge thing. I’m sure it’ll be fun either way, :) And you can serve someone as a John Doe if you don’t have their address. It’s just some different publication rules.

Pandora's avatar

As already pointed out she can get the dad to surrender parental rights. If he doesn’t want to than she can say that she will hit him up for back child support and have his wages garnished. Bet he will sign on the dotted line.
I get where she feels it may be difficult to change her last name. He has children and she has her one son. If 4 of them share the last name and he doesn’t, he may feel left out. His feelings should matter more than your sons at the moment. It is more than just a name. The name identifies them as a family. It would be like leaving one family behind (him) to go with the new family.
You never know how young children will take such a change that didn’t include them in the deal.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III It was just a basic name change request posting. It was a standard one the court had for name changes. It includes the persons current name and the name they are wishing to change to and a line that states if anyone has any objections they should let them be known (along with information how to do that).

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Does your daughter know you post all this info about the kids?

I ask because you seem to not find it important to keep personal details and their photos off of this site. Facebook may be different because you can “up” the privacy settings, but on this site you can’t. Why would you want someone to know what the kids look like, what their names are and where they live?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have not given any personal details other than his name. First name only, at that.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I was referring to the kids’ names.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But how much information can a person get from just a first name? I really think you guys are being silly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t say where I lived in that question. And what does where I live have to do with where my kids live? None of them live in the same county!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just FYI, this question should be disappeared, at my request.

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