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Can you change the name of your child following a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2022 | Family Law |

When a couple marries, it’s common for one spouse to take the last name of the other. If they have children in the future, or adopt, it’s also common for the child to take the last name of one of their parents. In the unfortunate event of a divorce, the spouse who previously changed their name will likely return to their original name. But what about a child? What if a parent wants to change their name as well?

Procedural requirements

Indiana Code Section 34-28-2-2 sets forth the requirements and process to change the name of a minor child. A parent or guardian may request the change by filing a petition with the court, in the county where they reside. The petition must include the reason the parent or guardian is seeking a name change for the child.

Generally, public notice of any requested name change must be given prior to the request being considered by the court – including for minors. However, the parent or guardian can ask the court to waive the public notice requirement and keep the matter private. If the child’s other parent is still living, they must be notified of the request. If the parent’s whereabouts are unknown, this requirement can also be waived.

Is the consent of both parents required?

The consent of both parents is usually required, but there are exceptions. If a parent has abandoned the child or committed a crime against them, their consent may not be necessary. Ultimately, the best interest of the child will be the primary factor considered by the court. If a court is satisfied that granting the name change will benefit the child in some way, and not cause the child to suffer short-term or long-term harm, the change will likely be granted.