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Can I legally change my daughter last name without the fathers consent????

Santa Rosa, CA |

I have a 1 year old and I want her father last name from the birth certificate. Her fathers information is not in the birth certificate so will if be O.K or easier to do it without his consent ??

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Attorney answers 4


The process to change your child's last name is easier if you have the consent of the other parent. You can learn about the process to obtain a name change for your child here:

As you will read from the above link, you have to let the other parent know about the Petition for Change of Name and the court date for the hearing on the petition. The other parent has the right to oppose the request to change your child’s name. If the other parent does not agree to changing the child’s name, a judge will make the decision based on the "best interest" of your child.

If you need further assistance, you can seek the free help of the facilitator's office at the court:


Yes, you can change your daughter's name without his consent, but he still needs to be given notice of your petition for name change and he does have the legal right to object. I agree with Attorney Apicella.

In California, a name change requires a court order. For instructions how to change your child's name in California (without an attorney). see:

For instructions on how to amend a birth record, see:

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.


Do you want to adopt the 1 year old or only change her last name? Are you asking if you can revise her birth certificate to add your last name? Are you married to her natural mother? Without knowing many more facts, it's not possible to answer your question.

It appears as if you have been acting as the father of a child who is not your natural child, and you are not married to her mom. It also appears that the natural father ("bio-dad") is known to mom. It also appears that bio-dad has not signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. If the natural father is known and you are married to the mom, you may be able to adopt the baby. However, if you are not married to the mom, probably not.

In any event, you will probably need to notify bio-dad that you are taking any of these actions. You can consult with a lawyer about your question for little or no cost through a lawyer referral service in your area. You can find your nearest lawyer referral service by clicking on the link below.

Mr. Richardson practices in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and concentrates in non-adversarial dispute resolution as a mediator and collaborative lawyer. The California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization certifies Mr. Richardson as a specialist in California Family Law. He offers no comments or advice with respect to the laws of any state or jurisdiction other than California. The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. Mr. Richardson is not your lawyer unless and until you and he have personally met together. This post does not constitute legal advice, and no lawyer client relationship results.


Yes, but he must be given notice of your petition to change your daughter's name. And yes, he can oppose the petition.

James V. Sansone, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
Law Offices of James V. Sansone
1260 N Dutton Ave, Ste. 135
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
t: (707) 542-5611
f: (707) 542-5655

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