When does a Minor Need a Name Change?
Name changes for children often become necessary or preferred when there is a marriage, a divorce, perhaps an adoption, or even just in the change of custody from one parent to another custodian of the child. The reasons for making a name change can be varied and may be made simply out of personal preference. When a child is born in Utah parents can generally give their children whatever surname they choose. There are no laws stating what a child’s surname must be, and it is not a requirement that the father or mother’s surname be used. When parents are divorced separated or not married then the custodial parent has great latitude to decide which name is placed on a child’s birth certificate.
How to Change A Minor’s Name
Applications can be made by the child (if of legal age), a legal representative, or an adoption agency. In determining if the name change is appropriate in the case of a minor the court determines if it is in the best interest of the child. The court uses the following criteria: 1) Child’s preference, based on age and experience; 2) effect of the name change on the child’s relationship with each parent; 3) length of time a child has used a name; 4) difficulties, harassment or embarrassment of the current name or proposed name; 5) possibility the new name may cause insecurity or lack of identity of the child; 6) the motive or interest of the custodial parent.
The judge will order that notice be mailed to any person of interest in the petition to change a name. With minor children it is expected that a notice be mailed to the non-custodial parent to indicate that a petition for a name change has been filed. A hearing is set for the name change and as long as the non-custodial parent does not object then the judge will most likely approve the name change.
Looking to Change Your Minor’s Name? Contact Utah Divorce Hotline
A minor seeking a name change must have either a parent or legal representative file an application with the court. The Utah family attorneys at our firm know the best ways to help you get the name change that you want.
Whether you are the custodial parent or non-custodial parent we can help you in obtaining the approval of the court and either fight for or against a proposed name change. We know what is important to the court and what they are looking for in making these name change decisions on behalf of minor children.
To find out more set up a free consultation with our law firm, Utah Divorce Hotline, by calling 801.618.1331 or emailing us.