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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

Posted

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.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Mr. Mason, Thanks so much for the reply. That helps a lot

Philip W. Mason

Philip W. Mason

Posted

I should have said she needs YOUR permisssion - but I think you got it. Good luck - enjoy your kids.

Posted

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.

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Asker

Posted

How is a child having the mothers last name alienating the child from his biological father? If that is true then all children are alienated from there biological mother?

Todd Allen Davidson

Todd Allen Davidson

Posted

If the children had the mother's last name all along, then there could be an argument made that there is no alienation. However, by CHANGING the name so it is no longer the father's last name is certainly alienation.

Posted

No.


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Posted

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

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Posted

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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