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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    138

    Default Is Your Non-Marriage a Basis for Change of a Child's Last Name

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

    My daughter has her father's last name. I was okay with it when she was born because I was under the impression that we would get married. Didn't happen. He has not seen or talked to her since last July. I have even reached out to him two or three times and he did not respond to my emails. He did respond to a bill I requested him to pay (he wasnt too happy about it)

    We currently have shared custody and he has visitation every other weekend (on paper) I am taking him back to court to change our custody arrangements and to either request sole custody or shared custody with me having the final say.

    I would like my daughters last name to be changed mostly because it would make everything much easier for me. Another reason is that if someone just sees her name they assume it is also my last name. My daughter is 5.

    What I read online is that name changes are not so easy and not without a legit reason. Is it reason enough for me to just make it easier and for my daughter to have my last name?

    thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,133

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    Judges aren't real big on renaming children because their parents aren't getting along.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,143

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    PG is correct.

    Understand that the child's father must join together in the petition for the name change or it's nearly impossible for it to happen in Virginia, even in the case the father is in prison or has just abandoned the child. As pointed out, your convenience isn't even a factor in the decision the judge will make. The court is specifically disinclined to "de facto" disown the father through a name change.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,047

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    Quote Quoting kathak
    View Post


    We currently have shared custody and he has visitation every other weekend (on paper) I am taking him back to court to change our custody arrangements and to either request sole custody or shared custody with me having the final say.
    I hope you are getting child support.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    No. Making your life easier is not a valid reason, unless you could get the father to agree, in which case the court wouldn't likely care about the reason. It's awfully hard to believe that, in 2019, something as common as a mother and child having different last names would pose any significant problems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,289

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    Quote Quoting kathak
    View Post
    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: VA

    My daughter has her father's last name. I was okay with it when she was born because I was under the impression that we would get married. Didn't happen. He has not seen or talked to her since last July. I have even reached out to him two or three times and he did not respond to my emails. He did respond to a bill I requested him to pay (he wasnt too happy about it)

    We currently have shared custody and he has visitation every other weekend (on paper) I am taking him back to court to change our custody arrangements and to either request sole custody or shared custody with me having the final say.

    I would like my daughters last name to be changed mostly because it would make everything much easier for me. Another reason is that if someone just sees her name they assume it is also my last name. My daughter is 5.

    What I read online is that name changes are not so easy and not without a legit reason. Is it reason enough for me to just make it easier and for my daughter to have my last name?

    thank you,
    Name changes are supposed to be in the best interest of the child - not the parents. So if your only reason is to make it easier for you - a judge probably won't agree and you usually have to get permission from the other parent too. Or at least notify them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,143

    Default Re: Would This Be Reason for Change of Last Name

    Quote Quoting qwaspolk69
    View Post
    Name changes are supposed to be in the best interest of the child - not the parents. So if your only reason is to make it easier for you - a judge probably won't agree and you usually have to get permission from the other parent too. Or at least notify them.
    I guarantee that in Virginia, this is going nowhere unless

    1. the other parent agrees.
    2. there's some other court action to disestablish paternal rights (or show the father is dead).

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