The end of a marriage is always a challenge for the entire family, and when you have children with your ex-spouse, matters involving child custody and support are sure to arise. However, it is also common for one parent to request their child’s name be changed after the divorce has been finalized.
Continue reading to learn more about parental rights surrounding last names and when you can change your child’s last name in Indiana.
Parent’s Rights in Indiana
When discussing a last name change, it’s assumed that the mother is the one requesting the change. Although this is often the case, there are several other instances in which a last name change may be sought.
Both parents of a child, whether you are the mother or the father, have a right to have a relationship with the child, visitation, and a financial obligation to them. If the child was given one parent’s last name at birth, and the parents have since separated, the parent retaining custody of the child can request a last name change in very specific circumstances.
Keep in mind that the courts will not permit a last name change because you want to spite your ex. Any name change must be in the best interests of the child.
Valid Reasons for a Last Name Change
If the child’s last name is that of a parent who has been absent from their life, or if they have continued to be in and out of the child’s life without forming a relationship, then changing the child’s last name to that of the parent who has always cared for them may be appropriate.
Likewise, if one parent has been absent and the other is remarrying, it is possible to request that the child’s last name be changed to that of the custodial parent’s new spouse.
You will need to speak with your lawyer and discuss your reasons for requesting a last name change for your child to get more personal advice regarding whether your request for a name change will be granted by the Indiana courts.
Get Help from an Indiana Divorce Lawyer
If you need assistance with getting your child’s last name changed, or if you are fighting against a last name change for your child, reach out to a highly trained Indiana divorce lawyer at Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm. You can give our office a call at 1-812-232-7400 or fill out the brief contact form we have included at the bottom of this page to schedule your free case evaluation.