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Petitioning For A Child’s Name Change

Child Custody + Name Changes | Attorney Jeffrey M. Bloom

In West New York, petitioning the courts for a child’s name change is usually not a difficult undertaking. Usually this process only requires a few basic forms to be completed, which can be downloaded, most times for free. Where an issue can come into play is if the judge does not agree that the name change is in the best interest of the child.

Should one parent disagree with the name change, the process becomes more complicated and you are forced to have a hearing in front of a court appointed judge. Depending on the facts of the case, it is possible that the likelihood of your request being granted may drop substantially.

Child Custody and The Success of A Name Change

The likelihood of a child’s name change being approved commonly occurs when:

  • Both parents request the change and petition together (married or not).
  • One parent petitions and after notification, the other parent has no objection.
  • One-parent petitions and the other parent cannot be found or has abandoned the child.

When both parents petition the court together, it is usually always a granted name change. This is true whether or not the parents are currently together. If only the parent who is requesting the name change shows up to court for the hearing, the judge will more than likely approve it, if the petitioning parent can show that the other parent has been officially notified and has failed to appear.

Child Custody and When A Court May Deny A Name Change

A court may not approve a child’s name change when both parents have a continuing relationship with the child and one of the parents opposes it. If this is the case, the judge will listen to each parent’s argument and ultimately decide on what is determined to be in the best interest of the child. In doing so, some factors will be considered:

  • Length of time child has used the current last name.
  • Strength of relationship with each parent.
  • Effect of name change on the relationship with parents.
  • The need of the child to have a common last name with family unit.
  • The wishes of the child, if older.

All these will be factored in before a final decision is made.

If you are seeking a name change for a child alone, without the other parent, the court requires notification of the other parent, even if you have sole custody of the child. This required notification also holds true for legal guardianship. The parents or grandparents (should the parents no longer be in the picture) must be notified. In rare circumstances of abandonment or abuse, the court may not require providing notice before granting a name change.

Schedule A Consultation with West New York Child Custody Attorney Jeffrey M. Bloom

Jeffrey M. Bloom is proud to serve the people of New Jersey, where he has lived for more than 40 years. If you are facing a child custody or child support issue, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom today to schedule your consultation and get legal help.

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