My question involves name change laws in the State of: CALIFORNIA
Here is a very unusual situation that I bet nobody has ever encountered:
I have never met my child. The child was conceived during a one night stand, the mother insisted on keeping it, and we had a falling out. Before the child was born, the mother went through the courts to have a restraining order against me for 3 years (falsely accusing me of battery; later dismissed), during which time the child was born. The name on the birth certificate was the mother's surname, not mine.
Since I had no custodial rights to the child, I moved far away to take a job, and accepted that I would not be a part of the child's life. I have made absolutely no attempt at contacting the child nor the mother. I pay monthly child support payments to CSS; I have never been delinquent on a payment.
A few years ago, I received a notice from CPS (Child Protective Services) that the mother had become a drug addict and physically abused the child (still a minor), so the child was placed in the guardianship of its maternal grandmother.
After that, I heard no further news...until now (2 years later), I just happened to see on the county superior court's online public access system that the grandmother SUCCESSFULLY petitioned the court to change the child's surname TO MY SURNAME!
In the case report, it says that "proof of service of OSC re. Change of Name by Personal on (DATE) as to (MY NAME) filed."
This is completely false, as 1) I have never received nor signed any documents about this name change, and 2) I was out of town on business at the time the guardian claims I was serviced.
Herein lies my perplexity and dilemma:
1) Why would the grandmother change the child's surname to my surname - a parent the child has never even met?
2) Can the guardian get in trouble for slipping a fraudulent proof of service through the court system?
3) What steps would I need to take to reverting this name change?
4) Is it even worth the trouble to change the child's name back to the original?
To be totally honest, despite having taken a DNA test for CSS after the child was born, I still am not convinced that I am the biological father, and even if I am, the mother and her family are so unstable that, out of self-preservation, I really do not want to have anything to do with them or the child besides paying child support to CSS.
Emotionally, I am completely detached from the child and mother, yet I can't help but wonder why they would give the child MY surname at this late stage, and how it could possibly haunt me down the rode if I allow them to keep it?
A part of me also believes that this is some kind of ploy to stir up trouble for me, because up until now I have remained completely inaccessible to that family except via CSS, and that must frustrate the hell out of them.
Thank you for your feedback.