After a divorce, you can petition the court to change your child’s name. This is generally not very difficult and will require the filling in of basic forms which you are able to download from the county court website. However, the name change will have to be approved by a judge and will need to be deemed in the best interest of the child.
The Best Interests Of The Child Standard
After you have filed the forms for changing your child’s name, this will be presented to a judge. The judge will only agree to change the name of the child if it is deemed to be in their best interests. Unfortunately, there is no real standard for this determination and will generally be applied on a case-by-case basis.
This standard is fairly vague and there is a lot of leeway. This means that opinions on what the best interests of the child are will vary from judge to judge. However, it is important to note that there are some situations which are straightforward and will result in the petition for the name change being approved.
When The Courts Will Approve The Name Change
There are 3 situations where the courts will generally approve the petition for the name change without any problems. The first is when both parents bring the petition to the court together. This can be done if the parents are married, divorced or were never married.
Another situation will be when one parent files the petition and the other parent does not have any objection to this. The other parent does have the right to object after they have been notified of the petition. The last situation will be where one parent petitions the change and the second parent has abandoned their child or cannot otherwise be found. This will be seen as the second parent not objecting to the petition.
When The Courts May Not Approve The Name Change
The courts will generally be reluctant to grant a name change petition when both parents have a good relationship with the child and one of the parents opposes the name change. However, it is important to note that the court will never turn down a petition without a hearing first. If you have a hearing, this does not mean that the name change will be approved. This simply means that the court is willing to listen to the arguments that both parents have for their side.
When making a determination in these cases, the court will look at certain factors to determine the best interests of the child. The first factor will be the length of time the child has been using their current last name. The effect of the name change on the preservation of the relationship the child has with both parents will also be considered.
The status and strength of the relationship the child has with each parent will be looked into. If the child has a stronger relationship with the opposing parent, the petition could be turned down. The need for the child to identify with a new family through a shared last name will also be considered. If you have an older child, their wishes will also be taken into account. To know more about us visit the website at http://divorceattorneyscolumbusohio.org.