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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Child's Name Change in Florida

    We just moved from NJ to Florida 2 years ago. My oldest son is now 8 years old, the biological father has not been around for more than 7 of those years. I was never married to the biological father, but I have been receiving court ordered child support, but before that he was not paying. My husband and I would like my son to take my married name. Where should I start? The only contact we have to the biological father is through email. He constantly says he is in the service or going somewhere. Everytime we try to contact him he just blows us off. We have absolutely no idea where he is. What can we do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    2,032

    Default Re: Name Change in Florida

    Quote Quoting DanniPan424
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    We just moved from NJ to Florida 2 years ago. My oldest son is now 8 years old, the biological father has not been around for more than 7 of those years. I was never married to the biological father, but I have been receiving court ordered child support, but before that he was not paying. My husband and I would like my son to take my married name. Where should I start? The only contact we have to the biological father is through email. He constantly says he is in the service or going somewhere. Everytime we try to contact him he just blows us off. We have absolutely no idea where he is. What can we do?
    It is really doubtful that a Court would allow changing the child's name to his/her step-father. But, you would have to file a request with the courts and tell them why you believe, that having st-dads last name without the benefit of adoption, is in the child's best interest. Expect Dad to object.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Child's Name Change in Florida

    It is not only the StepFathers name, but now also my name as well. We have two other children with our married name. He is the only outcast, with a last name that no one has, and he is getting older and starting to ask questions. Dont you think a court would allow it, if it is my name as well??

    Do you recommend any good lawyers in the south florida area

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    541

    Default Re: Child's Name Change in Florida

    He is not an outcast.

    Answer his questions honestly. Explain that a name is just that...a name. It has no effect on how much he is loved and acknowledged as a very important part of the family. There is nothing stopping him from using your last name in any situatuion other than legally. Do you have any idea how many kids have different names than the rest of the family?

    You will have to at least make all reasonable efforts to contact his father before a court will order that his name be changed.

    If you want his name to be changed to his step father's and yours, have you looked into step parent adoption? Granted, his father will still have to be notified and either consent to TPR/adoption or have a court involuntarily TPR. But it is going to be very rare for a court to order the child's last name to be changed to a legal stranger's just because his mother happened to marry that person.

    For attorneys, contact your local or state bar association.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Florida
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    2,772

    Default Re: Child's Name Change in Florida

    Quote Quoting DanniPan424
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    We just moved from NJ to Florida 2 years ago. My oldest son is now 8 years old, the biological father has not been around for more than 7 of those years. I was never married to the biological father, but I have been receiving court ordered child support, but before that he was not paying. My husband and I would like my son to take my married name. Where should I start? The only contact we have to the biological father is through email. He constantly says he is in the service or going somewhere. Everytime we try to contact him he just blows us off. We have absolutely no idea where he is. What can we do?
    The other responses are correct, without getting the legal father's permission, there's no way a court will allow a name change against a CS paying father's wishes.

    You do have another option, that would be a step parent adoption. Email your son's father and ask if he would be willing to relinquish his rights and allow your husband to adopt. Quite often, when a disenterested father is reminded that he'll no longer have to pay CS, it's amazing how quickly they'll agree to a TPR and adoption.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,625

    Default Re: Child's Name Change in Florida

    If the current custody and support order was entered in New Jersey and the case has not been transferred to Florida, here's a lengthy article about obtaining a name change through the New Jersey courts. Florida case law indicates that it is possible to change a child's name if a court deems that to be in the child's best interests, but they seem to set a pretty high bar for what that means. (See the 2003 case of McKay v Haikey [PDF])

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