Can I change my child’s name without my ex’s consent?

When parents are no longer together, there may be valid reasons for one parent to want to change the child’s name. While it is possible to change a child’s name in Virginia, parents do not have free reign to do it and a court has the discretion to approve or deny a name change petition.

If both of a child’s parents are not in agreement about a name change, a court hearing will usually be required so the objections of the non-consenting parent can be heard. A court will hear from the parents – and the child if older – and make its decision based on what it believes is in the best interests of the child. Keep reading for more from our skilled Fairfax child custody lawyers.

can I change my childs name

Can I change my child’s name in Virginia?

You can change your child’s name if the court agrees that the name change is in the best interests of the child. The process is initiated by filing a petition in the circuit court of the county where the child resides. When only one parent wants to submit a petition for changing a child’s name, the other parent is entitled to notice and a court hearing if the parent objects to the proposed change.

To proceed without a hearing, the petition must be signed by both parents unless the other parent has had their parental rights legally terminated or is deceased. If the other parent objects to the name change, a hearing will be held, and the court will decide whether to grant or deny the name change based on what it believes will most benefit the child.

Name changes will not be granted if the court finds the name change is being requested for a fraudulent purpose or that changing the name would infringe on someone else’s rights.

Valid reasons for changing a child’s name

When a court is asked to make a decision involving a minor child, it is going to weigh the consequences in terms of the best interests of the child. When deciding whether to grant or deny a name change request, a court is interested in knowing the bad and good about the current name as well as the bad and good about the proposed name.

Some valid reasons for a child name change include:

  • The child’s mother remarries and wants the child to have her new married name
  • Mother goes back to her maiden name after divorce and wants the child to have the same name
  • Change the child’s surname because the father is not part of the child’s life
  • Name change to reflect religious beliefs
  • Change to father’s surname after paternity is established
  • Name change for the health and safety of the child

How do I change my child’s name on their birth certificate?

You can change the name on your child’s birth certificate by completing an amendment request form through the Virginia Department of Health. Once a court has approved a child’s name change and issued a name change order, attaching a certified copy of the order to the amendment request is sufficient to get the State Registrar’s office to change the name on the child’s birth certificate.

Where to get help if you want to change your child’s name

If you have a valid reason for wanting to change your child’s name but think your ex might object, Select Law Partners PLLC can help. A Fairfax child custody lawyer will make sure the court understands the reasons you are requesting a name change and why your decisions are in the best interests of your child. Call (855) 541-4867 or contact Select Law Partners PLLC to schedule a consultation.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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