Can one parent change a child’s last name that is on the birth certificate without the consent of the other parent?

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2012

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Can one parent change a child’s last name that is on the birth certificate without the consent of the other parent?

My son’s ex-girlfriend is mad at him and now wants to change their child’s last name from his to hers. The child has his last name on her birth certificate. Can her mother change it without his consent? Also, if she wants to move with the child out of state, can he stop her?

Asked on August 27, 2012 under Family Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes and no.  If they were never married and no parentage has been established on his part then technically she is the only legal guardian and has control over those things. He needs to establish that and support and visitation or yes, she can also move.  Good luck.

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