Name change help! PLEASE HELP! He'll be dragging me to court as soon as he can! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Long story short...
 
Boy meets girl.  Boy dates girl.  Boy becomes extremely controlling and abusive.  Girl dumps boy.  Girl and boy never lived together, were never married.  Girl realizes she's pregnant.  Conception is result of boy's controlling ways.  (Think there what you may.)  Boy flips out- this is HIS child, he has every right to HIS child, including sole custody when child is born.  Girl distances herself from boy.  Girl gives birth.  Girl names baby.  Last name is her last name.  Father's name is not on the birth certificate.  No comment on last name was made when  father was told baby's name, just "I thought you were gonna use your maiden name?"  Father's name is not on birth certificate.  Baby boy is now 3 1/2 weeks old.  Boy gets all possessive of this child- this is HIS child (but Mom's a whore if she doesn't agree to a paternity test asap, since she must've been screwing around, there's no other reason why to dump such a wonderful guy...)  Anyways, it came out last Sunday- he wants a paternity test so that he can file to have his name on the birth certificate, change the baby's last name, and have 50/50 rights over the baby.  Mother tells him the baby has a last name, does not need to change it.  Father gets all excited- he's a F*********, not a S*******, etc.  Father threatens Mother with lawyer- needs to carry on the family name, father's the last of the male F*********'s, the child will get picked on if he doesn't have his father's last name (on a side note, father's last names is one of those last names that has so many openings for word play teasing in school), that's not even the Mother's real last name (I kept my last name from my former marriage because it's the one I had longest in my life and because my Mother changed my last name twice when I was a child, so this is my fourth (and final) last name.  I don't want to change his last name to F*********.  Not  only does that last name sound really weird, but I want my child, who will be living with me, to have my last name.  His older brother (15) has a different last name from me and it's caused confusion throughout his life with schools, medical forms, etc.  My older son has actually expressed the hope to someday change his last name to my last name, which would make the three of us S*******s.  Also (I hope this is not triggering for some people), I do not want my child named after someone who forced a relationship between me and him.  Neither does my family.  The father has implied that he will to file for full custody, and then change the baby's last name if I don't comply.  (No guarantee he won't anyways at some point- he's so controlling and possessive, I'm sure he will eventually.)  Now, this morning, I got an email from him "please work with me, I think both sides of our family should be represented, here are some suggestions" and then several suggestions involving not only changing the last name to F*********, but that he wants to change the middle names as well, 'cause "Father's Rights", he has the right to name his child.  The baby's name is James Steven Frank S*******.  The father wants to switch one of the middle names to his deceased father's name 'cause "both families should be represented" and "I already have choice of two of the names, he should get to choose the other two names".  Has anyone been in a similar situation?  How did it turn out?  What can I do to win if it goes to court?  Please help!

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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Um, personally I would cut off contact with him and wait until it may or may not go to court. His threats sound empty. He wouldn't get 50/50 of a newborn anyhow. The name change is ridiculous. This is a baby not a possession to place a name on just so one feels more control. Why isn't he more concerned with setting up visits and bonding with his child? I would not compromise with him at this point after all you have gone through with him and truly you should have cut contact long ago. Your still married right? ANd the baby has your husbands name? It will take money and time for this guy to go through the courts and establish paternity etc. Cut contact.

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#3 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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First of all, hugs, mama. This sounds so tough.

 

Now, the good news (I think). Where I used to live in the US, it was really hard to change a child's last name. The father of my daughter and I BOTH agreed to change her last name, and we didn't because it would have been a ton of paperwork, plus a 90-day published notice in case anyone objected. I don't know what it's like where you live, but judging from that experience I would expect that if one parent doesn't agree to the name change, it would be either a no-go or a long, difficult, drawn-out process for him to persuade the court to change the baby's name. You weren't married. He wasn't there for the birth (I'm guessing, since his name isn't on the certificate). Those aren't compelling reasons for the court to grant him a name change.

 

If I were you, I'd google the name-change process for minors in your state, and see what comes up. Also try searching for any cases similar to yours.

 

Finally, mama, if I were you I'd just ignore this guy. He can court-order a paternity test, and then you guys can establish visitation and child support through the courts. There is no reason currently for you to be in contact with him. Archive his emails without reading them and put him out of your mind until you get an official letter in the mail from the court demanding you to appear for a paternity test.

 

Good luck, and try not to worry too much.

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#4 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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I know in CA you just file for a name change and pay $200.

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#5 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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I agree, empty threats. He doesn't get to change the baby's name!  Good grief! 

 

Cut off contact to protect your sanity. You are still thinking that he has control over you, and he doesn't!!!  He wants to keep you thinking that way. 

 

Keep records of his nasty emails, voicemails, texts,etc.

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#6 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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My ex has been threatening similar stuff for the past 6 years. My advice it to distance yourself. Cut contact with him. He has no rights at the moment. He does not have rights over the child till YOU sign the paternity acknawledgment. He can sign one all he wants. All it does is say if there are legal proceedings involving the child he is to be notified. He can take you to court but he doesnt have much of a snow balls chance in space very hot of doing what he thinks.

 

Cut contact, keep distance and life a great life with your baby. If a legal paper shows up int he mail, takeit to legal aid and go fromt here. My bet is though he is all talk and no action. He is controling and this is a way for him to try to control you since you are no longer together.

 

I am sorry hun *hugs*


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#7 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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In case it helps you feel better, I found this from http://www.lawny.org/index.php/family-self-help-140/name-change-child 

 

 

 

Quote:

What happens if the other parent does not agree to the name change?

It can be very difficult to change your child’s name if the other parent does not agree to the name change. You can try an informal name change. You should know that the other parent can stop this if they learn about it.

 

 

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#8 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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(I just figured out who you were. :hi)

 

Hey, congratulations on the baby boy!

 

As I'm sure you're aware, he does have the right to pursue paternity and custody/visitation, though the idea that he'd get sole custody is laughable. (And, as I'm sure you're also aware, he is trying to control you--he probably doesn't actually give a rip about this child as a human being. So, in your shoes, I would tell him to buzz off about the name until a court told us otherwise.)

 

The name thing seems to vary so incredibly much by state and by judge, though (as well as by age--the last name of a pre-verbal baby is more changeable than that of an older child who identifies with his or her name). As far as I know, there's no automatic name change, and in no state that I'm aware of is the father's name required to be the last name (when the parents' last names are different). My son has my husband's last name, by mutual agreement. I live in Milwaukee, though, and probably 50% of the families here have multiple last names, so it's not a big deal.

 

Here in WI, I've seen only a couple of disagreements (I did an internship in paternity court--most of the cases I dealt with involved teenage parents, though, and almost always, the girl gave the baby the father's last name right in the hospital, go figure), and it's up to the party who wants to change the status quo to show why that would be in the best interest of the child (and, at least here, "a child should have his dad's last name" is not really a good reason--it's not 1952--but "the mother is trying to keep me from my child" might hold some weight, even if it's not true, or even if the "keeping me from my child" is entirely justified.).

 

That your last name is your former married name rather than a maiden name is irrelevant to whether your child should have it or not--it's your name, you're entitled to use it, it doesn't matter where it came from.

 

I do know in some states, the default (if parents don't agree) is to hyphenate both names.

 

I haven't seen middle names as an issue, so I can't offer anything there.

 

So...I guess, what I'm saying is, yeah, he can try to force the name issue and a judge may or may not order it. That's not particularly helpful, is it? ;) If you can afford it, it may be worthwhile to get an attorney, because the abuse complicates things--at the very least, a good attorney can run interference and take the emotion out of it; s/he also would know more about the law and judges in your area and would know the best way to proceed, should this guy actually file for paternity/custody.


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#9 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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Too much drama and stress for a mother with a newborn. For your sanity IMHO cut communication. Keep a detailed written record of all interactions. With a controling ex the best practice is turn a deaf ear to their attempts of manipulate you. He is under the impression he still has control over you and he does not. Enjoy life with your sons and if he ever actually takes this to court worry about it then. But it all seams like empty threats made by a man grasping at straws.

 

 

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#10 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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this all sounds awful. i agree that you should cut contact and wait to hear from the courts. you don't need this crap in your life, you have a sweet baby to be in love with. he can threaten whatever he likes, he's not actually god and the courts aren't actually going to bow to his demands. the only one who potentially could is you, if he wore you down enough. that's why ending contact is a good idea.

i hope things get better, mama. this stuff sucks.

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#11 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 11:21 AM
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Not in your state, but I just went to name change court this year. Watched custodial mothers go through a rather in-depth conversation with the judge about motivations to change name, had the other parent been in contact, etc. There are papers to file, and in order to change what is already in place, there has to be consent or compelling reason such as an adoption.


Hon, I KNOW you really think you have to talk to this guy. I've been there, I remember what it was like to be PP and labor under the illusion that it was up to me to always be the diplomat, to try to 'avoid' court, etc. Looking back, it would have been wiser to do what these mamas here suggest. End it. If court contacts you, you can show up and tell your story there, with a friend along for support. At this point all we know is that he enjoys tormenting you. He may or may not actually care to become a parent on legal terms. If he does, then you still don't have to interface with him personally. Honestly, honey, to continue to speak/email/text with this man would be sheer and utter madness on your part.

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#12 of 48 Old 02-26-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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I'm sorry you find yourself being harrassed.  Like the others, I say do not engage in these conversations with him.  You don't owe him anything.

 

And here's the thing:  If this was really important to him and he actually thought he'd get the court to agree with him, he'd just do it!  It wouldn't be about hounding and harrassing you.  He would just simply try to get it done.  But he is of the unfortunate ilk that gets his jollies out of harrassing women.  So avoid, avoid, avoid. 

 

And, seek legal advice of your own.  So on the odd chance that he actually does anything rather than harrass you, you'll have someone in your corner.  Also, you can say, "Take it up with my lawyer", any time he tries to contact you.  And that takes a lot of the fun out of it for him.  Win-win.

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#13 of 48 Old 02-27-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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He's not going to get custody.  But chances are very good that he will get the last name changed to his, or hyphenated with his last name, courts have ordered that the child's name be the same last name as the father in the past.  But I wouldn't do anything, let him go to court over this.  And when he does file, you file for child support (you should do this anyway as the child deserves to be supported by both parents). 

 

Unfortunately, given how young your baby is, you are going to have to have some contact with the father (you need to show the courts that you are willing to facilitate a relationship with the father or he could end up with custody).  Given how he is, I would have a third party present or be in a public place (hard to do with a newborn, I know, but your ex may behave better).  And when he starts threatening or harassing you, end any conversation (and visit).  You don't have to let him see the baby everyday, but you will need to do frequent contact.   I would also make it clear to him that there will be a third party present (or it will be in a public place) and he has no say in the matter.  If he chooses not to come as a result of that, then that's on him.  Just document any missed visits and who was responsible for the missed visit.

 

At the very least, you should consult with an attorney.

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#14 of 48 Old 02-27-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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i'd agree with goodmom except that paternity isn't established so there's no need to let him see the baby at all. he isn't the father until he's proven the father, and giving him visitation implies that he's the father.

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#15 of 48 Old 02-27-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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She is under no obligation to set up visitation with him and he certainly would not get custody if she decided not to do visits. If at the point paternity is established then yes she should absolutely set up visits.

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#16 of 48 Old 03-01-2011, 12:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwan*Yin View Post

I know in CA you just file for a name change and pay $200.


Actually in CA you have to provided a certified court order for the name change, fill out a very simple one page form and pay $20.  The process is easy AFTER you get the court order that allows for a name change.

 


"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#17 of 48 Old 03-01-2011, 12:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post

 

I do know in some states, the default (if parents don't agree) is to hyphenate both names.

 


I saw a lot of this when I was in court.  Luckily it was not that way for me. :)

 


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#18 of 48 Old 03-01-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Good to know, thanks LoveOhm. The woman at the County office told me it would cost me $200. I wonder why she thought that!

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#19 of 48 Old 03-01-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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Just looking for an update...

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#20 of 48 Old 03-01-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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oops..

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#21 of 48 Old 03-18-2011, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just got served two days ago.  For Paternity (with name change) and for Visitation.  Custody was crossed out on the docket, but that scares me- with visitation, I will have to legally hand him over to his father and without custody, then I'm not sure I'd be able to legally get him back if his father refuses to return him.  In the process of getting a court appointed lawyer.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#22 of 48 Old 03-18-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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I would be scared too. The baby is only 2 months old? I'm surprised the father filed.

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#23 of 48 Old 03-18-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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Is custody already assumed to belong solely with you?  That might be why it was crossed off the docket - if the person who approved it being scheduled decided that there wasn't enough evidence to merit a possible custody change and crossed it off.  With a visitation schedule ordered by the court though, you dont' have to be as worried about him not returning your child to you at the end of his visitation time.

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwan*Yin View Post

I would be scared too. The baby is only 2 months old? I'm surprised the father filed.


It's not a baby, it's his "property".  greensad.gif  I'm keeping his "property" from him.

 


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#25 of 48 Old 03-18-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by blessingscome View Post

Is custody already assumed to belong solely with you?  That might be why it was crossed off the docket - if the person who approved it being scheduled decided that there wasn't enough evidence to merit a possible custody change and crossed it off.  With a visitation schedule ordered by the court though, you dont' have to be as worried about him not returning your child to you at the end of his visitation time.

 



Nothing has been done as far as legal so far.  We were never married, he's not even the legal father yet.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#26 of 48 Old 03-18-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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I get the same threats with the same wording. I hope it all drags out for many months until the baby gets a little older. I hate when nursing baby's are forced to go overnights when they are totally not ready.

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#27 of 48 Old 03-26-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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The courts can't determine custody without first establishing paternity.  The custody will be heard after this is done later.  Either way, get a parenting plan signed off on by a judge before any unsupervised visits. 

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#28 of 48 Old 03-26-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josybear View Post

i'd agree with goodmom except that paternity isn't established so there's no need to let him see the baby at all. he isn't the father until he's proven the father, and giving him visitation implies that he's the father.



Not allowing him to establish a relationship with the father, in other words not letting him see the baby, before paternity is legally established will hurt her in court once paternity is established if he decides to go for custody after paternity is established.  While the courts may not know who the father is, the courts will know that she does.  Establishing paternity is merely a formality for legal purposes.  So, yes, there is a need to let him see the baby.

 

While paternity isn't established, she has complete control over the length of the visits and whether or not they are supervised. 

 

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#29 of 48 Old 03-26-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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Quote:
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She is under no obligation to set up visitation with him and he certainly would not get custody if she decided not to do visits. If at the point paternity is established then yes she should absolutely set up visits.



I wouldn't go around saying that he won't get custody if she refuses to let him see the baby.  Custody HAS changed for this very reason.  Courts are looking for a custodial parent who will facilitate the relationship with the other parent.  I am not saying that she should go out of her way to set up visits, but she also should not deny him if he asks.  I can just see it in court:

 

Which scenario do you think will look better to a judge who has to decide custody?

 

OP:  He has no relationship with the baby.

Father:  She refused to let me see the baby on such and such date and time.

OP:  Paternity was not established so he wasn't the legal father and I was under no obligation to allow visits.

 

Or

 

OP:  He has no relationship with the baby.

Father:  She refused to let me see the baby.

OP:  He never contacted me to set up visitation.  Had he done that, I would have gladly set up a visit.

 

If I was a judge, the first scenario would cause a custody change.  Regardless of the law, the mother knew who the father was. 

 

When going to court, it really is a better plan to go in with clean hands. 

 

 

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#30 of 48 Old 03-26-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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I wouldn't go around saying that he won't get custody if she refuses to let him see the baby.  Custody HAS changed for this very reason.  Courts are looking for a custodial parent who will facilitate the relationship with the other parent.  I am not saying that she should go out of her way to set up visits, but she also should not deny him if he asks.  I can just see it in court:

 

Which scenario do you think will look better to a judge who has to decide custody?

 

OP:  He has no relationship with the baby.

Father:  She refused to let me see the baby on such and such date and time.

OP:  Paternity was not established so he wasn't the legal father and I was under no obligation to allow visits.

 

Or

 

OP:  He has no relationship with the baby.

Father:  She refused to let me see the baby.

OP:  He never contacted me to set up visitation.  Had he done that, I would have gladly set up a visit.

 

If I was a judge, the first scenario would cause a custody change.  Regardless of the law, the mother knew who the father was. 

 

When going to court, it really is a better plan to go in with clean hands. 

 

 



Scenario number one would likely cause court ordered visitation to begin - its not in a child's best interest (ever pretty much) to be removed from a loving parent and placed with someone the child has never met and doesn't have any sort of relationship with.  THEN - if the mother refuses to facilitate visitation, doesn't cooperate with the court order, but the father really wanted visitation and was showing up at all the times designated, but was being turned away - THEN the court would think seriously about flipping custody.  I can't see it happening at the very first court date though, not if the child has never met the other parent.

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