In order to change your name or the name of your child after a divorce or other proceeding, you need to give notice and appear in court. We have over thirty years’ experience in family law in Oklahoma, and many of our cases end up involving changing the names of people involved, especially after a divorce or the adoption of a child.
What are the Steps to Changing a Child’s Name?
If we can get the consent of both parents and a waiver filed with the Court, it makes things easier.
A child’s name can be changed in Oklahoma without additional proceedings during an adoption, or during the determination of paternity. Otherwise, changing a child’s name requires the consent of both parents or a determination by the Court that it would be in the child’s best interest to have his name changed. For example, if you have recently been divorced and are looking to change the child’s last name so that he does not share his father’s last name, you will need to file a petition with the court and explain why the child’s name should not be the same as his father’s.
A lot of people, when they get remarried, assume that they can simply change the child’s last name to the last name of their new husband. This is not true. You will have to have your husband adopt the child, and that will require either the consent of the child’s father or the termination of the father’s parental rights. If a person’s parental rights are terminated, either by consent or by the Court, then they can no longer be obligated to pay child support. Having your new husband adopt your children in order to change their last name will end your ex-husband’s duty to pay child support.
How Do I Get Started?
Get together any of the documents in relation to custody arrangements for your child, or the child’s reason for wanting to change his name, if changing a child’s name. Bring your divorce decree with you, if changing your name. Many divorce decrees include automatic changes back to the wife’s maiden name, but you may need to go to court to be sure. Bring any other court documents or records that you have, including any records about the person whose name you and/or your child currently share and your reasons for wanting the change of name.
If you are trying to change your child’s name after remarriage and the child’s father doesn’t agree, then bring any and all documents that show why your ex-husband’s rights should be terminated so that your current husband can adopt the child. If your child’s father does agree to the change of the child’s name, then we will draft the appropriate consent forms for him to sign and will send them to him or his attorney directly.
Once you have all your documents together, give our office a call, and we will go over the case with you in a free fifteen minute telephone consultation and explain to you generally the steps that we will need to take to get the name change completed. After that, we will make arrangements for you to meet with us so that we can review your documents together and gather any other information that we need from you. We will also send you a retainer agreement to review, which we will go over with you both by phone and at our first meeting in person.
What if I Can’t Meet at Your Office?
We can communicate with you by phone and by e-mail to get your story and get all of the documents that we need from you. Then, we can send you documents to review and sign by mail and e-mail, so that you are able to help us prepare your case. Once we have everything ready to go, we can take the documents to the Court and file them, and send you copies of everything by mail and e-mail so that you can review them at a time and place that is convenient to you. We will meet with you at the courthouse before any hearing in order to go over your case and our strategy for the hearing and to answer any questions that you might have in-person.