Can I Change My Child’s Last Name After My Divorce in California?
If you are going through a California divorce, you might be hoping to change your child’s last name along with your own. There are various reasons for this. One, the parent might want the child to feel more connected with them by sharing their last name. This is especially true if this parent will be the sole caregiver after a divorce.
There are other reasons you might want to change your child’s last name after a divorce. You might already share the same last name, but you are planning on remarrying and want your child to take the last name of your intended spouse. Whether you also want that person to adopt your child is a different situation.
Regardless of your reason for wanting your child’s last name changed, you are likely wondering: Can I change my child’s last name after my divorce in California? Is it even possible?
Changing a Child’s Last Name
It is possible to change a child’s last name after a divorce, and the process you will have to undergo depends on your situation. If both parents agree to the name change, then you should be able to change the name without too much trouble.
You will both need to complete some court forms, file them with the court, and publish an Order to Show Cause for Change of Name in a general circulation newspaper once a week for four weeks in a row. After that, the judge should approve it fairly quickly, often without you needing to go to court.
If only one parent wants the child’s name to change, you will have to go to court. You will also have to notify the other parent of your intentions, and they will have a right to speak in court if they oppose the name change. The judge can then either approve or deny your name change request. This could take three months or more depending on the court’s schedule.
Contact a Family Lawyer in California
Back to your question: Can I change my child’s last name after my divorce in California? It will depend on the circumstances, but it’s possible. Even if the other parent doesn’t agree, you might be able to convince a judge that you have good reason to change your child’s last name.