Legal Assistance for Military Personnel

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NAME CHANGES

1.  Q.  I RECENTLY MARRIED A WOMAN WHO HAS A MINOR CHILD FROM A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE/RELATIONSHIP.  CAN WE GET THE CHILD'S LAST NAME TO MY OWN?

A.  This can be done if your wife and the biological father of the child consent to the name change.  If the  biological father does not consent, you'll need to file suit to terminate the biological father's parental rights.  If the biological father's parental rights are terminated, the name change may proceed.  If there has not yet been a judicial termination of the biological father's parental rights and the minor child has reached the age of sixteen, the name change may proceed if: 

1.  The biological mother consents;

2.  The mother has custody of the child and has supported the child; and

3.  The clerk of court is satisfied that the bio-father has abandoned the child. 

2.  Q.  I RECENTLY MARRIED A WOMAN WITH A CHILD FROM A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE/RELATIONSHIP.  SINCE I AM ADOPTING THE CHILD, WITH CONSENT OF MY WIFE AND THE BIOLOGICAL FATHER, CAN I CHANGE THE CHILD'S LAST NAME TO MY OWN?

A.  Yes.  Simply let the attorney know who is handling the adoption paperwork know.  There is an entry on the adoption petition which allows you to request that the child's name be changed.

3.  Q.  BEFORE MY WIFE AND I GOT MARRIED WE HAD A CHILD.  SINCE WE WERE NOT MARRIED AT THE TIME OF THE CHILD'S BIRTH, THE CHILD HAS MY WIFE'S MAIDEN NAME.  CAN WE HAVE THE LAST NAME CHANGED?

A.  If both you and your wife consent, this can be done by the Clerk of Superior Court.  Since both biological parents consent, it is not necessary to go to court in order to make a showing of abandonment or to terminate parental rights.  All you need to do is file a petition to legitimate the child and request in the position that the child's name be changed.

4.  Q.  I WANT TO CHANGE MY OWN NAME.  HOW DO I GO ABOUT THIS?

A.   You first must be able to supply the names of two citizens of your county who can provide affidavits attesting to your good character.  These people should have both resided in the county, (which will include paying taxes in the county), and have known you for at least one year.   

5.  Q.  MY WIFE AND I ARE GETTING DIVORCED.  CAN LEGAL ASSISTANCE HELP WITH  THIS?

A.  Yes.  It is fairly common for a woman to request the resumption of her maiden name when she gets divorced. 

            If he is the plaintiff, the party filing for divorce, then she can request it in her complaint. If you are filing and she is the defendant, she can respond to your complaint by filing an answer and counterclaim requesting the resumption of her maiden name.  The judgement of divorce signed by the judge will state that she is allowed to resume the use of her maiden name. After the affidavits are signed (in front of a notary public), then a petition for name change is prepared; this states the current name you have, the one you propose to adopt and the reason(s) that you want to use the new name. After this, a notice must be posted at the courthouse of the county where you live and remain there for at least ten days.  Then the petition is filed with the clerk, along with the affidavits.  A certificate of name change is signed by the clerk.

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