My question involves name change laws in the State of: I live in FL, Mom and Son live in NY. All orders and jurisdiction in NY.
My son's mother just had me served a petition to change our 7-year-old's last name. She is asking that the court change his name from "mylastname" to "mylastname-hermarriedname."
I'm hoping you will take a look at her argument and let me know how you think this will pan out in front of a judge.
1. She claims our son has concerns about not sharing a last name with her, her husband, and their daughter. I have reason to believe that's not true, my son has always seemed happy with his name. It's also very common, so there are no negative associations with this name.
2. She claims his emotional health will be better once he can identify as part of his family unit in NY by sharing in their surname. She points out that it is important that he and his half-sister share a surname when she starts school. He also has a half-brother here in FL who I would like him to share the name bond with.
3. She claims that I do not participate in our son's everyday life, do not show concern for his education or medical well-being. I can prove this is untrue with phone logs, correspondence with son's doctors, teachers, report cards. I also have several emails where I am inquiring about extracurricular activities and school functions. She never answers them.
4. She claims that his medical well-being is in danger because our son's doctor tried to reach her using "mylastname" instead of "hermarriedname." She only gives one example of a situation like this occurring.
I also keep up with all court-ordered visitation and support. I did miss one visit because the way the schedule fell it came just a few weeks after another visit and I was not allowed any more time off work. This only accounts for one visit in 4+ years our order has been in effect.
I also have an email she sent me where she defends our then 3-year-old son calling her husband "Daddy" because he is there with him on a day-to-day basis. She says our son's "emotional attachment to my husband has already taken root and grown. It is too late" to stop him from calling her husband "Daddy."
Her attorney also cites case law to backup these arguments: re Eberhardt, 83 A.D.3d 116, 920 N.Y.S.2d 216 (2nd Dept., 2011). I don't understand referencing this case, because it's clear both parents used a hyphenated version of their child's name from birth, which is not the case in this case.
Given all of this information, do you think she will win this case? Our son is 7 years old and I enjoy the bond that our shared last name provides us, especially given the long-distance nature of our relationship.
Thank you in advance.