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I'm going through a divorce. Can my ex wife change my kids last name without my permission?

Greenfield, MA |

We are in Massachusetts and it looks like the custody agreement is heading towards my ex wife having sole physical custody and then we will have joint legal custody. I've heard that she wants to change our children's last names to hers. I'm trying to figure out if she needs my permission to be able to do this if I have joint legal custody. This is something I don't want to happen and I'd like to know the best approach to deal with it. Thanks!

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Your wife cannot change your children’s last names without permission regardless of the custody provisions of your separation agreement or judgment. You parental rights and responsibilities don't end with a divorce, in fact the court encourages your continued involvement.

    This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

  2. I agree with Attorney Mason. A court would ask, "what best interests of the child" is served by changing the child's last name? I do not know what arguments mom could present other than 1) I want to make it clear that I am the "winner" of this divorce litigation and 2) I would like to alienate the child from his biological father!

    The content of this answer should not be relied upon or used as a subsitute for consultation with professional advisors and it should be clearly understood that no attorney-client privilege has been created. A more complete answer and/or more accurate answer can only be provided in a more thorough examination of the facts in a consultation with my firm.

  3. No.

    henry lebensbaum esq 300 Brickstone Sq Ste 201 andover, ma -- (978) 749-3606.
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    Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex Offenses, SORB, Crimes involving Violence or Theft, Domestic (Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony and Child Support) and Family Law (Modification, Contempts & Paternity), Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury claims, Probate Law (Guardianships, Conservatorships & Estate Administration) and Legal Malpractice. For these and other areas, contact me. NOTE: This preceding message DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. It is not a protected or confidential communication. The statements made herein are not to be interpreted as representations or warranties of any kind. No reliance should be placed on the statements made herein. It is recommended that the recipient(s) should undertake their own research to reach their own opinion. The writer does not accept professional responsibility on this matter. TO CREATE an attorney-client relationship REQUIRES a signed retainer/fee agreement along with a retainer fee that must be received by my office.

  4. Absolutely not! The children have an identity and if you object, I do not believe that a court would order a name change. Not only have the kids been disrupted due to the divorce, now they won't even know who they are (slight exaggeration). Stand firm!

    Best of luck!

    Valerie Semensi @ 781.383.1940

  5. If you object to the name change then she cannot change the children's last name. However it is important to make sure you object to her petition to change their last name.

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