When a family goes through a divorce, it can mean experiencing changes to some of the most central aspects of their lives. Children and their parents can find themselves living in different homes, with new schools and jobs, and with a new family dynamic. One issue which can come up during this time is whether children and their parent should change their names after divorce.
Parents and Changing Names
For a divorced parent, deciding to use their former name again can be a complicated decision. Sometimes, hearing their parent use a different last name could serve as a reminder to the child of the change in the family. A parent keeping the same last name as their child can be a way of maintaining a connection with them. However, in other situations, having different names may not be consequential for the child or parent. There can also be an issue of the parent having built a professional reputation with their married name.
If a parent decides changing names is the right decision, the easiest way is to ask that the new name is by making it part of the divorce. This is free as long as the divorce case is pending. Waiting until the divorce is over will mean having to go through a separate legal process and incur the expense of another case.
Changing a Child’s Name
Basically, when parents agree, changing a minor child's name is not difficult. The parents can jointly petition then follow certain requirements and ask the court to make the change. When the parents disagree, the parent who wants to make the change is going to have to go through extra efforts to achieve this goal. The parent will have to provide official notice of their intent to change the child’s name to the other parent. Provided, the requesting parent follows the rules, the court will consider this request in a hearing which both parents will be allowed to attend. The requesting parent will have to be able to show that changing the child’s name is supportive of their emotional well-being. As with all decisions concerning children, the court will have to assess whether the proposed change is in the best interest of the child.
Deciding to change your name or your child's name after divorcing can be complicated. Children can identify with both of their parents and changing their name could be perceived as you disconnecting the part of them which comes from your former partner. It will be essential to consider this and the other implications of this act before taking steps to initiate a name change.
At the Draper Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of parent and child name changes in connection with divorce and can help you evaluate your options. To learn more, contact us today online or call (866) 767-4711. We proudly serve the greater Central Florida area with offices located in Kissimmee, Orlando, and St. Cloud.