Changing Child's Name To Married Name

by Ashlee from Lakeland, Florida, Polk County

I do not know who the father of my 3 month old child is and it is listed unknown on the birth certificate.

I recently got married and my husband and I want my 3 month old to have our last name.

She currently has my maiden name and I was wondering what I would have to do to change her last name to my married name.

Would my husband have to adopt her... her biological father is completely unknown.

Answer to Florida Adoption Question

Dear Ashlee,

You may be able to have your daughter's name changed legally without your husband having to adopt her with Florida's name change for minor children procedure.

I'm not sure what you and your husband's reasoning is for not adopting via the stepparent adoption procedure.

But, yes, your daughter's name can be changed without a stepparent adoption.

To change your child's name legally, you will start with the Petition for Change of Name (Minor Child(ren), Form 12.982(c) and several supporting forms mentioned in the instructions for that form.

Have a look at our Florida Name Change instructions page for more information. The following excerpt from the instructions to the name change form addresses your question:

If both parents agree to the change of name and live in the county where the change of name is sought, you may both file as petitioners. In this situation, service is not necessary, and you need only to set a hearing. You should ask the clerk of court, family law intake staff, or judicial assistant about the local procedure for setting a hearing.

If only one parent is a resident of the county where the change of name(s) is sought or only one parent asks for the child(ren)’s name(s) to be changed, the other parent must be notified and his or her consent obtained, if possible.

If the other parent consents to the change of name, a Consent for Change of Name (Minor Child(ren)), Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.982(d), should be filed.

If the other parent does not consent to the change of name, you may still have a hearing on the petition if you have properly notified the other parent about your petition and the hearing.

If you know where he or she lives, you must use personal service.

If you absolutely do not know where he or she lives, you may use constructive service.

If the biological father's whereabouts is unknown to you but you know who he is, you will need to try serving him through constructive service. Unfortunately, the forms' instructions are not clear about your particular circumstance.

If you do not know who the biological father is, you may need to go through a search of the Putative Father Registry. This is what is usually done for an adoption procedure and is a bit more complex.

Visit Florida's Putative Father Registry for more information. Also have a look at Florida's Change of Name Statute and try our recommended service providers below. Good luck.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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