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Can you change your children’s last name after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Divorce |

The Census Bureau reports that the rate of divorce in the U.S. is the third highest in the world. The aftermath of a divorce brings many changes to the lives of all involved.

If you are considering changing your children’s last names after divorce in Texas, you need to understand the legal process.

Reasons for a name change

Often, parents want their children to share their last name, especially if they have custody or if the other parent is no longer involved. Sometimes, a name change serves the best interest of the child by eliminating confusion at school or with healthcare providers.

Legal requirements in Texas

In Texas, you can petition for a child’s name change, but the court must find that the change is in the best interest of the child. The judge will consider various factors, such as the child’s preference (if old enough to express a preference), the potential impact of the change on the child’s relationship with each parent and the reasons for the requested change.

Opposition from the other parent

If the other parent objects to the name change, the court will consider their reasons. The judge will evaluate the level of involvement and commitment the other parent has shown to the child. The court generally maintains that a child having the same last name as both parents is in the child’s best interest, fostering a sense of family unity.

The child’s opinion

In Texas, if the child is over the age of ten, the court may consider their opinion. The judge may have a private conversation with the child to understand their feelings and preferences without parental influence.

Process of name change

The process of changing a child’s name involves filing a lawsuit, usually in the county where the child resides. The petition must include specific information, including the current name and residence of the child, the reason for the name change and the proposed new name.

Changing your child’s last name after a divorce in Texas is a significant decision with legal implications. You must consider the best interest of the child. Understanding the facts and the process can help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for your child.