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What You Need to Know About Legal Name Changes

Children born to married parents typically take their father’s surname, which will be indicated on their birth certificates. In some cases, there can be exceptions to this clause. For example, the mother might want her children to have a different last name. Another instance is when the child is born out of wedlock and the mother chooses to register her child under her surname.

However, is it possible for children to change surnames aside from the given situations? The short answer is yes. In such cases, the parents also play an essential role in changing a child’s surname, especially if it’s the latter’s request. Also, Townsville family lawyers can help those who want to change their names and have other family-related concerns.

Why some children change names

Before anything else, the child should seek the approval of their parents to change his given name or surname. A child can change his or her name as long as it is not for questionable purposes. Some of the reasons why people decide to change their given name or surname are the following:

1. The child dislikes his/her name.

For some reason, some kids were given names that can be hard to pronounce or sound embarrassing. On the other hand, some children simply do not like their given names and might prefer fancier names instead. To spare themselves from the shame of having unusual names, some children opt to change their names legally.

2. The child wants to change to his/her mother’s surname.

Divorce can be hard on children. In some cases, it can even trigger ill feelings for the father. There are also instances wherein the children themselves decide to change their surname to follow her mother’s maiden name.

3. The child came from an ethnic background or minority.

Some people who come from an ethnic group choose to have names that sound more Western or natural to pronounce. Meanwhile, some individuals want to embrace their ethnic origins by adopting a native surname.

How name changes apply to children

child happy in lawyer's office with parents

As mentioned, a name change in children should have a seal of approval from the parents. Usually, the law says that a child should reach 18 years old before he or she can change names. However, changing names before reaching 18 is possible as long as there is parental consent to do so.

There are three ways to change names. One way is using a name exclusively. For example, a child can convince other children and people to call him or her by a particular name. However, they have to change their names when they turn into adults.

Children’s names can also be changed in the event of adoption or when a divorced or widowed parent remarries. In such cases, the parents will decide on the name change if the child is still a minor. However, children can determine a name change once they reach legal age.

Overall, it is crucial to consider your local laws regarding name changes. This is because such requirements vary from state to state.

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