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#1 of 22 Old 06-21-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone here changed their child's last name? Maybe this is a strange question.... but my DD has her fathers last name. He has never been a father figure. He has only seen her once in the last 8 months (lives in a diff state because he's in drug/alc rehab... which enrages me even more) & before that it was very random. He did start calling every Monday but this started a month ago. He was very abusive as was his family so we do not see anyone from his family.

I really want to change her name because she is not even a part of his family. She is completely me.. I have raised her from day one. He doesn't even pay child support (well his family pays it for him- 110.00 twice a month)! I hope no one on here will judge me for wanting to do this.

BTW she is three now
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#2 of 22 Old 06-21-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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You will need either his permission or to have his parental rights revoked. In Illinois (or at least in my county) that requires 12 months of no contact for abandonment, his choice to allow it to be revoked or to do a lengthy court battle where you prove to the judge that she is better off without him in her life. (Hard to prove unless any risk to her well being from being associated with him.)

Was not worth it for us, my two oldests father is the same... he was actually gone for almost 12 months, contacted us a couple weeks short of us being able to go get it revoked for abandonment. Now he calls sometimes, though only one of the two kids remember him and that one prefers his new dad ("step" dad) over his old dad (bio dad) and even calls my husband Dad rather than his name or Step-Dad.

We did manage to get sole custody of the kids however, and have put up the option for him to give them up as well. With the child support piling up against him ($100 a week) I do not think it will be long before he begs me to allow him to give up his parental rights (and thus, no longer have to pay child support).

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#3 of 22 Old 06-22-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Talk to a lawyer. You'll probably be able to file for TPR due to abandonment at some point. I wouldn't be be surprised if a lawyer advised you to wait until he's out of the rehab and stops being prodded to call every Monday (that's very likely why he's calling).

Don't encourage, don't antagonize. Unless your lawyer advises differently, let your ex drop off the radar on his own schedule and then get him taken off the paperwork. With any luck, your daughter won't be aware of any of this.

After the TPR, you might find that you enjoy referring him to an agency that collects back child support, assuming that you have even gotten a support order. You probably won't ever see any money, but that doesn't mean it's worthless to make the point that the obligation was real and ignoring it has unpleasant consequences.
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#4 of 22 Old 06-22-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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Oh, and checks from his family shouldn't count as cs, even if you cash them. But to be on the safe side, I'd stop cashing them. At the crucial moment, you can credibly claim that you stopped receiving them.

Like I said before - it's time to speak to a lawyer. Explain that you desire no custody, no contact in the long term and let her/him advise you how to proceed to get to that point.
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#5 of 22 Old 06-22-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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I didn't realize, and am a bit surprised, that a simple surname change has any requirements. I mean, I totally understand the dynamics and why the name change is important to the OP, but I just don't get how she is legally prevented from making a name change. I don't see how the surname has anything at all to do with visitations and child support from the child's father. I don't see how anything really has anything to do with being 'allowed' to change her daughter's surname.

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#6 of 22 Old 06-22-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I didn't realize, and am a bit surprised, that a simple surname change has any requirements. I mean, I totally understand the dynamics and why the name change is important to the OP, but I just don't get how she is legally prevented from making a name change. I don't see how the surname has anything at all to do with visitations and child support from the child's father. I don't see how anything really has anything to do with being 'allowed' to change her daughter's surname.
Well, if they allowed one parent to do it, then the other parent could just change it right back (or to something else), and that seems pretty silly. It makes sense there are rules restricting it.

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#7 of 22 Old 06-23-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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i know that where i live you need the other parent's permission to legally change the name. however, you can use whatever last name you like as long as it is not for legal documents.

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#8 of 22 Old 06-23-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Oh, and checks from his family shouldn't count as cs, even if you cash them. But to be on the safe side, I'd stop cashing them. At the crucial moment, you can credibly claim that you stopped receiving them.
This may or may not be correct. If the CS is going through the state, there is a record that it was paid (and frankly, the state will not care if the money is from him or his family) - and in many states that is enough to preclude abandonment.

Additionally, few states will allow a TPR w/o a spouse ready and willing to adopt the child, except in extreme cases of abuse.

With regard to a name change, it is most likely that a court would order a hyphenated surname, with both his and yours, absent a TPR.

And OP - he IS a part of your child, no matter how you'd like it to be otherwise. At least he is in rehab - perhaps this will be the time he turns his life around.
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#9 of 22 Old 06-24-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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We changed our children's last names. It wasn't for blended family issues, but I decided to go back to using my maiden name and wanted the kids' names hyphenated. Both DH and I had to sign the paperwork and appear in court to have it done.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#10 of 22 Old 06-25-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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thank you for posting this question. I has helped me
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#11 of 22 Old 06-26-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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You may be able to file a request for a legal name change and explain the situation to the court in your request... that's usually the normal process for a legal name change in other situations (like if someone names Marilu Smith decided to legally change her name to Mary Louise Smith).

Without dad's permission I kind of doubt the court would let you do it, especially considering he is in rehab (which the court would likely see as positive) and currently has contact with her (even if it is by phone once a week)... but I don't think you have to terminate his rights to change her last name. I also imagine the family court wouldn't see it as a particularly favorable action on your part if dad fought it. But my own opinion aside, I would start with looking for how to get a legal name change in your state (like googling "legal name change [your-state]").

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#12 of 22 Old 06-26-2010, 09:32 PM
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I haven't done it yet, but DP and I plan to change older DS's last name after we get married. We are expecting a baby together, and we would like us to all have a common last name. My situation is (legally) easier, though, because my ds has my maiden name as his last name, and his father's name is not on the birth certificate. So, all I (legally) have to do it go down and add DP on to the bc as the father, and have him sign a paternity affidavit. DS's dad is fine with all this, it means he never has to pay me any money.

So, no legal advice on this end, just a YES, we are doing this, too, and I completely understand your desire to change your daughter's last name.

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#13 of 22 Old 06-27-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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So, all I (legally) have to do it go down and add DP on to the bc as the father, and have him sign a paternity affidavit. DS's dad is fine with all this, it means he never has to pay me any money.
You do realize that this is known as fraud, right?
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#14 of 22 Old 06-28-2010, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for you replies and support! I'm just coming back now to read the replies because I was doing a research paper that had all my attention.

I do know he IS a part of my DDs "life". He made her and was a dad for 3 months (...I guess). But he doesn't raise her and doesn't care about being a part of her life ( besides monday calls). He had a choice to go to rehab in our state but chose to move across the country. He also tells me weekly that he will never come back here. He wont allow himself too.

Changing her name has nothing to do with removing him as a parent. Although I would like DP to be her legal parent one day because he does raise her. In the long run the term "legal" doesn't matter to me. As long as DD knows who takes care of her. I think it's healthy for her to have some sort of relationship with him but it is also healthy to keep him at a distance. He does not shy away from telling me how his rehab is going and his plans for his life. He has never mentioned plans of being a parent.

As for child support- His parents own a business and theysend me a check that shows money is coming out of bio-dads pay-check bimonthly pay-check. Yet, he does not work for them. I look at this as a sort of c/s fraud but I need the money. He is in rehab and does work a job in the state he lives in. His parents pay in-full for his rehab and apartment so I'm not sure why he doesn't pay me directly if he does not have housing to pay for. I guess I should ask. Even though his parents only give me 110. every other week it's a huge deal for me. That covers babysitting costs I need to complete my degree.

On TPR... of course I'd like to do that. He has caused a lot of pain in my life, my daughters life, and my parents life. I have feared my life ( & daughter's) in many situations. He has done scary things in front of DD ( although she was an infant) that has forever changed me. He is not fit to be a parent right now.. & I don't know if he ever will be. I don't think I have grounds to terminate rights right now. Though down the line I might...especially if he agrees to not pay support. He has never been able to keep a job with his "issues" which are mostly anger. (Please no one flame me for this... you have not lived my life).

I have to be grateful for our current situation. I am very lucky that the person I fear most does not live near me. Changing DDs name doesn't mean the world to me but one day it would be nice. We'll see how life goes.. she's only 3.

Again, thank you for the advise... I think I will talk to my lawyer just to see what she thinks.
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#15 of 22 Old 06-28-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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All legal issues aside, I think it's important to think about how it will affect your daughter. I went back to my maiden name right after my ex left and it was important to me to do that because of the situation previous. Everyone kept asking me if I was going to change my kids' names. I'm not changing them because their father is still part of their life. If he were completely gone and didn't care for them at all, I'm not sure what I would do to be honest. I would worry about when the child was older would they think you took something away from her by taking her birth name away from her? Of course if her bio dad has no part of her life and never will and she has a step father that treats her just like a daughter, maybe in the end she would be grateful and be proud of her "new name." It's a tricky one. My suggestion would be that as long as the bio dad has ANY part of her life, to leave her name as is. There is aways the option to change it later.

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#16 of 22 Old 07-09-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
You will need either his permission or to have his parental rights revoked. In Illinois (or at least in my county) that requires 12 months of no contact for abandonment, his choice to allow it to be revoked or to do a lengthy court battle where you prove to the judge that she is better off without him in her life. (Hard to prove unless any risk to her well being from being associated with him.)
Are you serious?!?! Just for a name change??? Wow.

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#17 of 22 Old 07-09-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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As for child support- His parents own a business and theysend me a check that shows money is coming out of bio-dads pay-check bimonthly pay-check. Yet, he does not work for them. I look at this as a sort of c/s fraud but I need the money. He is in rehab and does work a job in the state he lives in. His parents pay in-full for his rehab and apartment so I'm not sure why he doesn't pay me directly if he does not have housing to pay for. I guess I should ask. Even though his parents only give me 110. every other week it's a huge deal for me. That covers babysitting costs I need to complete my degree.
Two thoughts:

1) All of his income should be considered for CS. So if he is "working" for his parents and working an additional job, CS should be calculated based on that. And in theory, his taxes. So there should be a paper trail. Or tax fraud.

2) Often, childcare costs are calculated on top of CS. Your CS should not be for covering childcare - he should be paying additional to cover his portion of this.

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#18 of 22 Old 07-10-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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My cousin and his ex-wife have gone back and forth on this, it is very easy to change the name, and she did just that without telling him. So he just went and changed it back. She is a bit loony, constantly dragging him through court for the DUMBEST stuff.

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#19 of 22 Old 09-21-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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My two bio sons changed there last name to mine just over two years ago. (my husband also changed his last name to mine too). I waited till the boys were old enough to make there own choice. There father hadnt seem them since 2006. never paid childsupport (but that wasnt a concern). My boys wanted to change there name due to my father (there grandfather) was very much a great male role model for them. Due to there dad wasnt in the picture, we had to place two newspaper articles in the paper to say on this day name of sons are changing names, and give address and time of hearing. The judge did ask the boys if thi was there choice etc.
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#20 of 22 Old 09-22-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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You do realize that this is known as fraud, right?
Um yeah, big time. I would have your DP ADOPT your ds. That's not fraud and won't get you into trouble.
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#21 of 22 Old 09-22-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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I didn't realize, and am a bit surprised, that a simple surname change has any requirements.... I just don't get how she is legally prevented from making a name change.
The OP would not want to change her daughter's last name, if she did not associate some significance and importance to whose last name the child has.

Some fathers also associate significance and importance to it!

Some mothers use changing a child's name as a way to hurt their ex and to subtly encourage the child to dissociate from his/her father and identify more exclusively with the mother. That is why one parent should not be allowed to unilaterally change a child's name and should have to jump through some hoops and prove some things, to accomplish it. Because their children have another parent, even if the first parent has come to hate that person.

Let's say a father got custody of his daughter, who had been given the same first name as her mother (his ex-wife); and he concluded he was now so much more important in the daughter's life than her mother was, that he was entitled to change her first name to his mother's? Would you still think, "Why should he be restricted from doing that? He has every right to re-name his kid whatever he wants!"?

In the OP's case, maybe the father will turn out to be so uncaring and uninvolved that it might prove perfectly appropriate to change the child's last name. If so, then as Smithie guessed, he will stop calling after he gets out of rehab, the OP can wait the required length of time, then claim abandonment and get what she wants.

But what if rehab is making him re-think his life and resolve to do better and THAT is why he's calling his child more regularly? She's only 3. He has time to become a better father and she won't even remember that he was worse, when she was 2 (unless her mom constantly reminds her...) What if the OP's current interest in changing her daughter's last name is linked to the fact that her jerk ex suddenly seems more interested in his parental role? What if, subconsciously, the name-change is less about asserting her own importance in the child's life (which is already unmistakeably demonstrated by her raising her daughter, with little or no help from him) and more about asserting that, even if her ex makes the effort to straighten up and fly right, she'd rather keep him on the "worthless, absentee, reject Dad" shelf? Should that sentiment rule the day?

I think these rules are reasonable. If just 3 years ago, she saw fit to name this child after this man - and he's in rehab, trying to clean himself up - he should be given the opportunity the law allows, to show he's going to be involved, before having his name stripped from his child. And again, the OP's not hurt by that. Anyone who knows that child already knows who's raising her, who's influencing her and who is the stable, reliable parent in her life.

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I don't see how the surname has anything at all to do with visitations and child support from the child's father. I don't see how anything really has anything to do with being 'allowed' to change her daughter's surname.
Of course no law mandates that a child must bear his father's name, until Dad gets $50,000 in arrears in C/P or misses 75% of his court-ordered visits. After all, even married people are not required to give their kids the dad's last name. They can use the mom's name, or even make one up! The law is simply meant to ensure that if both parents decided, when the child was born, to give him the dad's last name, then both parents should be involved in the decision to change it - UNLESS one parent has clearly abdicated their role. And if you let CPs decide alone whether the NCP has "abdicated their role", there would be a lot of loving, caring, involved NCPs accused of that, simply because they have ticked off the CP! It's better for an objective party to decide. And C/S and visitation are simply ways of objectively assessing the situation. A parent who exercises visitation (even if imperfectly) is still involved in the child's life. A parent who helps provide for the child's needs, financially, has not "abdicated their role", even if, say, military service or (God forbid) a jail sentence keeps them from exercising visitation.

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#22 of 22 Old 09-22-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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You may have an easier time changing daugther's name if you are just trying to change it only by adding your name instead of getting rid of father's names. Judge would look more kindly on doing this then if you want you can use only your last name for non-legal paperwork if you choose.

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