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Family Surname?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My partner and I are expecting our first Little One in February. Our plan has always been to change our last names to a new, family name. And, of course, we want to do it before the first baby comes.

Here's the problem: In NY state, a woman can easily change her last name to her husband's. If a man wants to take his wife's name, or if a "non-traditional" couple want to change their names, you have to petition the Supreme Court! (What BS!!) It costs hundreds of dollars for each person, not to mention the whole rigmarole of paper work.

Having a family name that we share with our kids has always been really important to us, so I suppose we're just going to have to eat the cost and deal with the paperwork.

If anyone here has been in this situation and can offer their experience or advice, I'd very much appreciate it. Also curious if anyone knows how the birth certificate thing works with gay couples--does the baby have to take the mother's last name?

Thanks so much!!
post #2 of 13
not sure how it works in ny but we did that in ma. dw changed her name first prior to marriage because she was also changing her 1st name then i changed mine at marraige. there were filing charges for her and she had to get it posted in the local newspaper but overall a pretty simple process. it was very important to me that our family share the same last name.

as for birth certificate, since we are married, dw is automatically the other parent of our child - no father will be listed. we will still do a 2nd parent adoption to cover dw out of state but she is a full parent at birth in ma.

if only all states would just get around to legal marraige - it would simplify everything for us all, right?
post #3 of 13
Hi Korey,

I just went through the probate court here. It was a pretty simple process and only cost $80, I think. Good luck! It was really important for us to all have the same last name too.
post #4 of 13
Ditto what Burg said. In Oregon, you go to Superior Court (aka county court), file paperwork, pay 90-some dollars, wait a week or so, and a judge changes it. However, I did this before Oregon adopted domestic partnerships--a name change may now be an automatic right that comes with filing for domestic partnership.

It's been worth it--I love sharing a last name with DP, and I'm glad our future child will have the same name as both of us.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone!

DP's been researching this for days and while she thinks she may have found a "short cut" to getting it all done, it's still going to cost a few hundred bucks for each name change.

Jeez, I thought NY was supposed to be a liberal state!
post #6 of 13
As far as the baby's name, it is my understanding you could choose whatever surname you wish, even one neither parent has. This may vary state by state, though. Here in NC anyone can change their name ONCE without cause. I guess that's one reason I'm thankful I live in the south!
post #7 of 13
In GA where our girls were born I had to give them my last name b/c I was the birthmother. My partner was later able to do a 2nd parent adoption at which time we also changed the girls' last names to hyphenated my and DPs last names. Now, in MI, I again had to put my last name only on our son's birth cert b/c I am the birthmother. Unfortunately MI law prohibits 2nd parent adoption. Therefore, I am going to petition to have my last name changed to the hyphenated version that our girls have, then when our son is a year old I can petition to have his changed to match mine. It is so stinking complicated - if we could marry this would be a non-issue. So frustrating, but we do what we have to. Planning on moving to another state where DP can adopt our son soon.
post #8 of 13
I changed my last name when we decided we wanted kids, for exactly this reason. My partner had already changed hers earlier, to a name we picked out together, and I finally got around to it a few years later. I was living in NYC at the time, and it wasn't that bad - I had to go to court, file my petition, wait around, go back... I don't think I actually had to talk to the judge or anything, it was just a lot of hurry-up-and-wait.

It's been well worth it, and there've been a few times (like when we bought a house) that having the same last name made it a lot easier to get people to take us seriously as a couple. And I'm definitely glad we'll all have the same last name with a little one in the picture. (It's confusing enough sometimes since I still use my "maiden" name professionally - having totally different legal last names would be more hassle than I'd want to deal with.)
post #9 of 13

Birth Certificate

Here in Canada you can only put both mothers names on the birth certificate if there is an anonymous donor. If there is a known donor, his name has to go on the certificate. It's BS too.
Our babies will both have my fiancee's last name, regardless of which one of us birthed them plus I will be adopting that name upon marriage.

I think that law in New York is ludicrous! I hope you get it changed!! Sorry about all the work\money involved for something other people get immediately.
post #10 of 13
just wanted to point out that in NY the trial division of the courts are called the "supreme court." kinda confusing ... the highest level court is called the "court of appeals" (not the supreme court). anyhow, point is, that it should be a relatively easy process at your local district level court.

as for the baby's name, that varies by state. in my state (NC), i could give our daughter any surname i chose.

good luck! and congrats!!
post #11 of 13
We considered going with a Family surname but it was much too costly. I changed my name to DP's last before DS was born. We also had to go to court. The process is long (and stupid). I needed to TESTIFY in court as to why I wanted to change my name... and in PA at that time there was no assurance that the judge would grant the name change. There was a case in the news around that time that the judge stated that the couple was trying to appear married which was not legal in the state. I also had to publish my intent in Two local papers, one which was the local law review. I think that it cost me close to $600 to complete the process THIS WAS WITHOUT A LAWYER!!!
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dykemom View Post
Here in Canada you can only put both mothers names on the birth certificate if there is an anonymous donor. If there is a known donor, his name has to go on the certificate.
Not sure about this. Maybe that's a provincial difference? Here in BC they never asked us about a donor, anonymous or otherwise. We all use DP's last name, and she's on the birth certificate as parent, same status as me, even though I carried.
post #13 of 13
Yep, the birth certificate thing varies from province to provice for sure. In most provinces, it's like dykemom said.
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