Step-Parent Adoption and Child Last Name Change in Florida

by Jessica from Orlando, Florida, Orange County

Hello I have a 8yr old daughter whose biological father left us when she was 6 months old. He has never been there financially and I don't even know where he is or lives.

She has his last name but I would like to remove it because he is not in her life.

My current husband who I married 3yrs ago has been the one raising my daughter and wants to adopt her. My daughter doesn't know that her step father is not her real father.

Can you please help in telling me what are the legal forms and procedures I need to proceed with this type of case?

Answer to Florida Adoption Question

Dear Jessica,

You will need to petition the court using the Stepparent Adoption: Consent and Waiver by Parent form, along with the related adoption forms. All the forms are available on the Florida Supreme Court's website.

Since you don't know the whereabouts of your child's father, you first must complete a Diligent Search and Inquiry form, which is a list of places to look for him. The list is long and includes, inquiring at places like, hospitals, his relatives, the military, prisons, utility companies, his last address, etc.

Once you have completed searching for him you then file the Affidavit of Diligent Search form with the clerk of court, and then you are allowed to advertise for his whereabouts; and of your intention.

The court clerks have specific information as to the wording for the advertisement, and for the places and way you may advertise. This is called constructive service of process. A mechanism for name change is included on the forms.

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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Comments for Step-Parent Adoption and Child Last Name Change in Florida

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Restore Birth Mother's Name on Birth Certificate
by: Amber from Sarasota, Florida, Sarasota County

I was adopted by my stepmother and in turn her name is on my birth certificate. I was wondering if there was any way I could get my birth mothers name put back on my birth certificate. I am over the age of 18 and reside on Florida. I don't believe it is possible to have your biological mother's name put back onto your birth certificate.

--Adoptions are permanent and cannot be undone, except in certain very specific circumstances. What you can do, however, is change your name back to your biological mother's name. As an adult, you have every right to do that, and the process is fairly simple. The form you can use to petition the court for an adult name change is available on the Florida Supreme Court's website. See form 12.982(a). --Staff

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?

--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.

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. --Staff

Adult Adoption
by: Rosie from Naples, Florida

My son who is 23 yrs old, would like to change his last name to my husband's last name, his biological father has never been in his life and wants nothing to do with him. What form do I have to fill out in order to do this.

--Your son is now an adult, so he would need to file for a name change. The process is fairly simple. He would need to file the petition along with the required forms. See our Adult Name Change page for more information.

Alternatively, since you titled your comment "Adult Adoption" the name change is part of the original adoption petition and comes into effect once the final judgment for adoption is signed by the judge.--Staff

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