Can a Child Change Her Last Name?

••• Oasim Karmieh, http://www.sxc.hu/

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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.

Adoption

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

Step-Parents

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

Paternity

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.

Divorce

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.