Can I change my child’s last name to mine without the father’s consent?

UPDATED: Jun 23, 2015

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Can I change my child’s last name to mine without the father’s consent?

He has no contact with my child at all.

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Family Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the father's name is on the birth certificate, you will have to have his permission in order to change your child's last name. If you don't have it, either because he won't give permission or he can't be found, you will have to go to court and have a judge decide what you or cannot do regarding a name change. Permission to change a name will only go ahead if the court considers it is in the child’s "best interests". In making a decision, a number of factors are considered including, but not limited to, the relationship between the parent and the child.

Additionally, if there has been no contact for an extended period of time, then you claim that your child's father has abandoned your child. If, after reviewing all information regarding such a claim, the court agrees, then all right the father has to your child will be terminted. At that point, among other things, you will be free to change your child's name.

Since this can all get complicated, you really should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in custody cases. They can best advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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