The general rule is that courts will exercise the power to change a child's name from the father's surname reluctantly and only when the substantial welfare of the child requires it. There is a list of twelve (12) factors the court will typically consider before changing the child's name. These factors include: (1) whether the changed name or the present name would best avoid embarrassment, inconvenience, or confusion for the custodial parent or the child; (2) whether it would be more convenient or easier for the child to have the same name as or a different name from the custodial parent, either the changed name or the present name; (3) whether the changed name or the present name would help identify the child as part of a family unit; (4) the length of time the surname has been used; (5) parental misconduct, such as support or nonsupport or maintaining or failing to maintain contact with the child; (6) the degree of community respect associated with the present or changed name; (7) whether the change will positively or adversely affect the bond between the child and either parent or the parents' families; (8) any delay in requesting or objecting to name change; (9) the preferences of the child; (10) the age and maturity of the child; and (11) when the child maintains the mother's surname, assurances by the mother that she would not change her name if she married or remarried; and (12) whether the parent seeking the change is motivated by an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.
Please review these factors. You may want to contact an attorney to discuss your options.
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