Child's Name Change
Not an easy go!
Changing a childs nameThe party petitioning the court for the name change of a child has the burden to establish the name change is in the best interest of the child.
Mother appealed judgment changing son's last name from her's to that of his father's. Mother and father were separated before the birth of their son. When son was born, Mother gave him her last name. Mother and father divorced, and father petitioned the court to change the son's last name to his. The trial court decided to grant father's petition based on the following three factors: (1) there had been an "agreement" between mother and father that the child would have father's last name; (2) mother's choice to give the child her own last name, despite that original understanding, was made out of "hurt and anger"; and (3) providing the child with father's last name would prevent father "from being disincorporated or disenfranchised from the child." Mother appealed, arguing that too much emphasis was placed on the agreement between mother and father before their abusive relationship began. Preference of the custodial parent also weighs heavily in determining the best interest of the child. Here, the mother is the custodial parent. Father, as the petitioner, has the burden of establishing the name change is in the best interest of the child. See also See Doherty v Wizner, 210 Or App 315 (2006).
A divorce court has only such authority as is granted to the court by the acts of the legislature. ORS 107.105(1) sets forth the various provisions that the court may include in a dissolution judgment. Inter alia, ORS 107.105(1)(h) authorizes the court "To change the name of either spouse to a name the spouse held before the marriage." But there is nothing in ORS 107.105 that provides the divorce court with authority to change the CHILD's name. The only basis can be a convincing argument that it is in the best interest of the child to change its given name.
Name Change for ChildMust be in the child's best interest to change its given name