For most people, their last name forms a part of their identity. It simultaneously represents their past and the future. You likely became used to it as a child and then carried it through school and jobs with you over the years. Perhaps you changed it or modified it with marriage or perhaps you kept your last name. Perhaps you were lucky enough to pass it on to your own child.
This is a reality for many people, and it’s understandable to want to see your family name continued. If, for some reason, your child doesn’t have your last name, then you may be able to work with a family law attorney and file a petition to change their last name. Today’s blog came in answer to one of our reader’s questions:
My child does not have my last name but I would like for him to have it. I filed a legitimation case and I want to know if the judge can order the mother to change the child’s last name to mine. —Michael T.
Keep reading to learn more, and then contact The Fairell Firm today to get started with a family law attorney near you. Our family law firm is conveniently located in Tucker, and we serve clients throughout the Atlanta area. Contact our family law lawyers today to schedule a consultation.
What Is Legitimation?
First things first: if you’re the father of the child and wish for your child to have your last name, then you’ll have to file for legitimation. Legitimation makes you a father officially. While you may have been an active parent since before your little one even came into the world, you don’t have legal standing as a father in Georgia if you and your partner weren’t married when the baby was born. Even if your name is on the birth certificate or you took a paternity test, a legitimation order is the only actual proof of fatherhood in Georgia.
Check out our post Why Legitimation Is Necessary for Your Rights to learn more about the process, and then contact our family law attorneys today to see what your next steps should be.
When Filing for Legitimation, You Can Request a Name Change
When you file for legitimation with the help of your family law attorney, you can request a name change for your child. The court will commonly grant this request, but there are some aspects to consider:
- If the mother objects, then the court will determine what is in the child’s best interest
- The age of the child plays a large role (it’s not as big of a deal for a 1-year-old vs. a 14-year-old, for example)
- Consider hyphenating your name and the mother’s name for your child
Meet a Family Law Attorney in Atlanta
Here at The Fairell Firm, our family law lawyers handle everything from divorce to child custody, support, and legitimation orders. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our family law firm in Tucker, just outside of Atlanta.