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!
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.
Family Law Attorney
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!
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Juvenile Law Attorney
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