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How do I change my child's name in Texas?

There are a number of circumstances in which a parent, guardian or other conservator of a child may want the child's last name to be changed. At minimum, a request to change a child's name must state the reason why the child's name should be changed, the child's current name, the requested "new" name of the child and where the child resides currently. A Consent to Name Change must also be filed if the child is over ten years of age.

A court will use a best interests of the child standard to make this determination of whether to grant the motion. Of the persons entitled to being notified of a person's intent to change the name of the child are:

  1. the other parent (if their parental rights have not been terminated)
  2. any guardian of the child
  3. a person adjudicated to be a managing conservator of the child

If the biological father of the child needs to be served and agrees to the name change, then the process can be a smooth and relatively quick one. However, if the biological father does not agree to the name change, then he may file a response to the lawsuit and seek to go before a judge to show that it is not in the child's best interest to have their name changed.

Another issue that can complicate or at the very least delay the process is if the biological father is difficult to find and/or has not been in contact with the person attempting to file the lawsuit. A court will require that the father be given notice. If personal service is not possible for reasons that are beyond the control of the lawsuit's filer then a court can agree to substituted service (often through service by publication). A party will need to have an affidavit completed which states the circumstances of why personal service was not possible and the efforts undertaken to ascertain the location of the biological father.

Along with the name change of a child, documents that are often filed concurrently are requests for the court to issue an order stating the biological father of the child. In some instances when a child's birth father is listed incorrectly on their birth certificate it is necessary for a paternity test to be administered to correct the mistake. In this sort of situation, the Department of State Health Services must be contacted to ensure that no other party has acknowledged parternity. From there, genetic testing may be ordered from the court in order to ensure that the correct man is determined to be the father of a child.

One of our associate attorneys recently handled the name change of a teenage girl whose biological father was not listed on her birth certificate. The child's mother was our client and she requested the name change once a paternity test showed a man different than the one listed on her birth certificate to be her biological father. Our client wanted her daughter's name to be changed in order to limit any confusion for the daughter as she aged about who her actual father was. Other common reasons for seeking a name change for a child are to help identify the child as part of a family unit and to allow this change to occur as early as possible in the child's life.

While the process is an involved one, the impact on a child's life can last a lifetime. With an undertaking such as this, it is important to have an experienced attorney available to assist you. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are representatives who are able to advocate for persons who are interested in changing the name of one of their children.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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