Reasons to Seek a Minor Child's Name Change

Why a Single Parent Might Choose to Change His or Her Child's Last Name

A parent may prefer to change a child's name sometime after the birth certificate and records have been filed. A parent who wishes to seek a minor name change will have to work with the court system. The name change process varies from state to state. Parents should consult a legal professional in their state for information on changing the name of a minor child after birth. Here are some reasons why a parent might pursue a minor name change after birth.

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Child Requests a Name Change

Portrait of mother with son (6-7)
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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.

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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. 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.

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Absent Father Returns to the Child's Life

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. 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. Both parents would have to agree to the minor name change in this case.

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Domestic Violence

A parent might request a name change for a minor child to protect the child from potential harm. A judge would give strong consideration to this request, as the court's main concern is the best interests of the child.

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If a child is adopted, an adoptive parent will probably want to change the child's name to his/her own family name. 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.