Can a Child Change Her Last Name?

••• Oasim Karmieh,

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There are many situations that allow a child to change his or her last name. To change a child's name, the parents or legal guardians must file a petition with the court. Generally, the parents will need to issue their written consent before a court will grant a change of surname.


After an adoption, parents may change the child's last name to the adoptive family's surname.


When a step-parent adopts his partner's child, the child may change her surname to reflect the new parent's last name.


If the identity of a child's father is unknown at birth and the court later determines his or her paternity, the child may take the father's surname.


Although it is rare, courts may choose to change a child's last name to the mother's maiden surname after a divorce.

Parental Name Change

If one of both parents legally change their last name, a child may change his or her surname name to that of the parents.


About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

Photo Credits

  • Oasim Karmieh,