Can I Change My Child’s Name Without Father’s Consent?

There are many reasons people would desire changing their name in their children. A name change could signal an entirely new chapter in the life of a person, let go of the name that is associated with it, or change the name of a child to the new stepparents’ names. Whichever reason you choose, it is important to be aware of the legal procedure you need to do to get the name of your child legally changed.

Who is who, where, and how Can I Request a name change?

For starters the process, only a parent or guardian, or other conservator can request the child’s name changed. This means that the child cannot themselves be able to change their name even if they would like. To change a child’s names or any other person in general to obtain a legally valid name change, it would require a the court. Name changes that are not formal are not allowed and won’t be recognized legally.

The process starts by the filing of a petition to change the name of a child. This is required to be filed in the county in which the child is. That means you can’t be able to get a name change through any judge in the county and the child has to meet the residency requirement for living in the county.

The petition will require essential information about the name change such as the motive behind the request to change names as well as the reasons why the name change is warranted and the “new” name that is requested as the full name and notify the court of any prior court orders regarding the child’s name that you want to change.

How Much Does it cost?

Although name changes aren’t cost-free, there is no cost for it. There is no set amount of what they will run. This is due to the fact that every county has its own filing cost. It is best to call the district clerk’s office within the county where you intend to file in to determine the exact amount. But, the majority of attorneys have this information at their disposal.

If you can’t have an attorney represent you during a name change case or not able to represent yourself solely as a pro se that is, without any legally-authorized representations, then you can submit a Statement of Unability to pay court Costs. You’ll need to demonstrate the need for costs to be exempted.

What If I Make a minor alteration?

There are instances that a parent might make a slight mistake on the birth certificate, for instance mistakes with the spelling of the child’s middle, first or even last name. I’ve spoken with some who believe that, even making these minor adjustments the issue would have an order from a judge rectifying the errors.

However, this is not true. The minor changes can be corrected with an amendment to the birth certificate. It is as easy as making a VS-170 form and sending it in to Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Consent for Name Changes

The next important step in the process for changing the name is consent. That means that any of them has to give their consent to a name change.

In the beginning, it’s the most efficient and cost-effective method to allow both parents to come to an agreement on changing the names of their children. If you’re one of the parents who is the sole petitioner to change the name of your child it is necessary to inform the other parent about the proposed name change. The only way to avoid this requirement is if the court’s order has legally ended the parents’ parental rights. In this situation the other parent will not have to be aware of the name change, but would have to meet with any additional conservator or guardian who has been ordered by the court.

If you have to notify the other parent and then agree that both parents make the request jointly and give their consent. However, the process becomes more complex and expensive when one parent is not in agreement. In this case the other parent will have to be served with the petition to change their name through a constable sheriff or private process servers. In these situations it’s best to hire an experienced attorney working with a process-server. This applies to any parent with legal notice even if the other parent isn’t included on the child’s birth certificate.

What Does my Child Need to agree?

In the case of a minor younger than 10 years old, the court does not need the child’s explicit consent to changes in their names. If, however, you have an adult child who is older than 10 years old, they need to agree to the change in name themselves in order to get it. If children give written consent, the name change will be granted without the objection of a parent.

Keep in mind that any court decision that involves children is always focused on things that will be in the “best interests for children.” There are certain factors to be considered when determining name changes, as defined as such by Texas Supreme Court as well as other appellate courts within Texas. The elements that are considered include: whether the name changes will allow the child to avoid embarrassing, anxiety, or frustration or inconvenience. If the child has been using that name for a lengthy period and what their relationship with it, and so on. There are a variety of things to think about when courts decide to change the identity of a child.

I’m Not Sure Where the Other Parent is?

If you’re looking to provide legally-binding notice to parent who is not the parent you want to notify about changing their name, but you are unsure about their location it is possible to do so through an online publication such as newspapers, online or other. In this case the parent who is not aware of the change is required to be represented by the use of an Attorney Ad Litem, which the parent who is filing the petition must employ. This is also the case for those parents who aren’t sure who the parent is of their child. An attorney ad litem is required along with a service publication.

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