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Changing a Child’s Name After a Florida Divorce


When people who took on their spouses’ names after getting married get divorced, they sometimes chose to take back their maiden names. If there are any children born during the marriage, they likely take on the family name, which may be the name of one spouse unless the couple use hyphenated last names. After the divorce, one of the parents may choose to change the children’s surname, especially if the parent is reverting to the use of a maiden name.

There may be different reasons for a parent to want to change the children’s surnames after a divorce. In some cases, it may just be because the parent with whom the children lives may desire to have the same last name as the children. While any spouse may change his or her name back to a maiden name after divorce, it is not as easy to do this with the children’s names.

Generally, when a child is born to a single parent, the parent gives the child her last name. If the father is not in the picture and the mother nevertheless gives the child the father’s last name, it may be easier for the mother to change the child’s name if the mother changes her mind later. If a child is born to married parents and is given one parent’s name as a last name, it may be more difficult to change the child’s name after a divorce.

A parent who wants to change a child’s name after a divorce has to petition a court for the right to do so. In Florida, as with all other issues involving children in a divorce, the court can only grant the petition to change the children’s names if it is found to be in the best interest of the children or necessary for the benefit of the children to have their names changed.

Courts are not supposed to consider a parent’s desire to change a child’s name in order to feel closer to the child, or in order to further distance herself from a former spouse as legitimate reasons to change the child’s name. A parent’s desire for a child to carry the family name is also not considered in determining the child’s best interest.

If the parents agree to the name change, they can include this agreement on a parenting plan to be approved by the court. If there is such an agreement in place, then the children’s names can be changed without any further need to petition the court. There are additional steps that need to be taken in order to change the children’s names. A court order allowing the children’s names to be changed does not automatically change their names.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you are going through a divorce and want to petition the court for primary parental responsibility, you should contact an experienced child custody attorney. There are many issues to consider when it comes to children in a divorce, and having the right attorney can make a difference. For more information and to set up a consultation to discuss your case, contact our experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.



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