Changing a Child’s Name: What’s in a Name?
By: Alicia Fastman, Esquire
Changing a child’s name is simple, if both parents agree and consent to the change. Where there is an agreement, it is as easy as completing and signing a form. Where there is no agreement, however, a Petition for Change of Name will need to be filed, and a judge will decide whether the child’s name will be changed.
When making this determination, the Court will rely on “the best interest of the child” standard. This means that the parent filing the petition must prove that it is in the best interest of the child to grant the request and change the minor child’s name.
The Court will consider several issues in determining whether a name change is appropriate based upon whether it is in the child’s best interest. The Court may consider the bond between parent and child and whether a change of name would interfere with that bond, or the history of the objecting parent’s connection to the child’s life including custodial visits, child support payments, and consistent involvement. Another issue that may considered is whether changing the minor child’s name would have social implications such as association with a name with a bad reputation or changing a child’s name once he or she has become known in school or in the community. The Court may also consider the child’s age and his or her ability to understand the impact of the change of name and whether the child wants the name change or whether the change would confuse the child.
If a parent wants to change the name of a child, but the child’s other parent does not agree, that parent should consult with an attorney to move forward in filing a Petition for Change of Name and in presenting an argument that the change will, in fact, be in the child’s best interest.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law at (610) 892-3877