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  1. #1
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    Aug 2018
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    Default Name Change For a Minor in Iowa

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Iowa

    My ex has supervised visitation with my 9 year old son. My son's paternal grandparents take him for 1-2 weekends a month. My ex, however, does not visit my son during this time. He left when my son was 10 months old & did not see him until he was 5. He saw him for about 5 minutes for his families Christmas when he dropped his 2 youngest kids off at his mom's but he didn't stay because he had other plans. This is the last time he saw my son. I am married, have been married for 2 years. My husband & I have been together 6 years so he is dad to my son. My husband & I have a 2 year old son together & a baby on the way. My son wants to change his last name to my, my husband's, & his sibling's last name. I've done a little research & it seems if I can prove abandonment, I don't need my ex's permission to change my son's name. I also have full legal custody. Do I still need to serve him with the intent to change my son's name? How do I prove abandonment? Where can I print the form I need to serve him & instructions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    833

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    Does he pay child support?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    3

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    He is currently $13,000+ in arrears. He got a job 6 weeks ago & on average has been paying (garnished) $35 every 2 weeks. Prior to this job I would usually receive $5-$10 every 6 months or so when he was threatened by CSRU with contempt. In 2017 I received $25 total.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    833

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    I could be wrong, but I think if he is paying child support, even inconsistently, it wouldn't be considered abandonment. Someone will correct me if I am wrong.

    Is there any chance he would just agree to the name change?
    Or possibly even step-parent adoption?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    3

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    When I looked into the grounds for changing a minors name without the other parent's consent, not helping financially & abandonment were 2 separate categories. He won't agree to anything because "control". Not because he cares, obviously. I have an attorney & am saving for him to help me if necessary. I was just hoping for an easier, less costly, way to do it on my own. We have considered adoption but this was easier, & something we could afford now, that is very important to my son.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    833

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    Looking into this briefly, abandonment is typically an argument to terminate parental rights. Is that what you are attempting to do? Most courts are not keen on doing this unless there is a step parent adoption taking place. This is because if you ever were to go on public assistance, they want to have someone on the hook to go after for reimbursement. Additionally, changing the name to your married name can be viewed as a backdoor adoption, which courts tend to lean away from.

    I understand what you are trying to accomplish, and can understand the importance of it to your child. Particularly since his father is absent. Since his rights haven't been terminated, he will have to be notified, and will have the opportunity to object. I have not heard of any means where notification can be skipped altogether just because he is absent. You would be able to present your arguments and he will as well, then the judge would make the decision. Perhaps the judge will allow you to change the name regardless of his objections, but I don't think you will be able to do it without even notifying him.

    Also when looking into changing a minors name without consent, was it not helping financially & abandonment, or not helping financially or abandonment. If it was "and" then the fact that he pays child support occasionally could make that an unsatisfied requirement.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    2,289

    Default Re: Minor Name Change in Iowa

    https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-p...lf/name-change
    Quote Quoting How do I change a minor child's name?
    The procedure for minor children is similar to the process for adults. There are two ways to change a minor child’s name.

    As part of a divorce case or custody case. If there is a pending divorce or custody action, the name change of a minor child can be part of the divorce or custody proceeding. Include your request for name change in your Petition (if you are the petitioner) or Response (if you are the respondent) and the court can include the change in the final decree. See Iowa Code section 598.37.
    If he won't agree to stepparent adoption or you think he won't consent to the name change - you can do service by publication where you post it in a local newspaper. That does count as serving him and if he doesn't answer you can say you served him. I think my SIL said that's what they did with my nephew's name change (technically stepnephew). His dad has been absent since he was six months old but he always manages to pay child support just when it's about a year so she can't file abandonment. But he never has seen him since then and he's 14 now. She's looking into stepparent adoption so if something happens to her then if my brother has adopted him then she doesn't worry about that sperm donor getting him (but in five years he's an adult legally hopefully nothing happens to her but if something happens it's after that). He has my brotehr's last name and I think she said she did the service by publication. He uses it at school too. Everywhere.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Name Change For a Minor in Iowa

    Quote Quoting J87MA
    View Post
    Do I still need to serve him with the intent to change my son's name?
    Yes, of course you do.
    Quote Quoting J87MA
    How do I prove abandonment?
    You will present whatever evidence you have of abandonment in court and see if the judge finds it to be sufficient. Take a look at the criteria for abandonment set forth in Iowa Code, Sec. 600A.8. Although that standard is for termination of parental rights cases, the name change statute does not define abandonment, and it's difficult to believe that a court would apply a higher standard for a name change than for something as dramatic as termination of rights.
    Quote Quoting J87MA
    View Post
    When I looked into the grounds for changing a minors name without the other parent's consent, not helping financially & abandonment were 2 separate categories.
    They are. This is an open forum, so sometimes people who don't understand the law chime in and post confused or misleading information. It's best that they refrain from doing so.

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