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Lady Themis
Lady Themis, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7751
Experience:  Divorce, child custody, child support, etc.
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I am the proud mother of a wonderful 13-year old boy. His

Customer Question

I am the proud mother of a wonderful 13-year old boy. His biological father and I never married due to his drug and alcohol problems. I did everything in my power to help him maintain a relationship with our son, even after we broke up, by allowing him to babysit in my house when I went to work. As his addication problem increased, I would only allow supervised visits, which he slowly stopped showing up for. I have since remarried and moved to Pennslyvania which I made him aware of. He continued to call our son over the phone. He took me to Pennslyvania court for visitation rights, which he never exercised (was actually granted specific days and just didnt show up!). I took him back to court to have visitation rights revoked and was successful. However, the court allowed him phone communication. The calls were sporadic, few and far between and never about our son but more about his father's problems. Approximately six years ago, he started telling our son he had brain cancer and might not live. We havent heard from him since. My son has begged me to have his name changed to my married name for years since my wonderful husband has always been more of a father to him than his own. I am almost positive his father is deceased. Can someone point me in the right direction to fulfill my son's constant request to have his name changed.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

 

There are two ways to accomplish a name change: either through adoption or a name change petition. In either case, the biological father must be notified. The court can order that notice be given through publication if the father's whereabouts are unknown. A notice is put in the local newspaper where the father was last residing. Once notice is accomplished, the court can grant the name change or adoption, as the case may be, without the father's presence in the court action.

 

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

 

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
My husband would be thrilled to adopt my son, however, I am trying to grant my son's request without hiring a lawyer, which is why I put it off a long as I did. I hired a lawyer for our arbitration hearing and he was totally useless, I did better when I spoke for myself. Since we did have a court-appointed arbitrator for the visitation hearings, I believe the court would have sometime of record. Am I able to file a name change petition or adoption proceedings with the court without legal representation?
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

Yes, a petitioner can technically file these proceedings herself. However, it is always recommended to have an attorney. Of course, the name change petition would be a bit easier than adoption proceedings, which would first require the termination of the father's rights.

 

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Or you experienced in family law? Is a name change petition a simple form which can be found online? I believe it would be easier to file a name change petition. If his father is deceased, his rights are automatically terminated. If the name change petition is granted, wouldn't it make the adoption proceedings easier? Would the name change petition uncover whether his father is dead or alive?

Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

Or you experienced in family law?

 

Yes I am experienced in family law, although I don't practice in your state.

 

Is a name change petition a simple form which can be found online?

 

No, it is not a simple form. A petition must be filed in court when the other parent is not available to consent.

 

If the name change petition is granted, wouldn't it make the adoption proceedings easier?

 

No. One has no bearing on the other.

 

Would the name change petition uncover whether his father is dead or alive?

 

Not necessarily. You may find in your search to have him served that he is deceased. If not, service by publication can be made on him without ever determining whether he is alive.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I need more instruction as to how to file the petition. Do I just show up at court and ask to be directed to where I can file a name change petition? What information/paperwork would I need to have with me?
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

Unfortunately, neither the court clerk or I can give you legal advise. However, the clerk can tell you what paperwork needs to be filed.

 

Here is one resource for guidance:

 

http://www.nwls.org/Name_ChangeMinors.htm

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
While I do appreciate your timely responses, the lack of information is hardly worth $48.00, especially considering you do not practice law in the state of PA.
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

I'm sorry you feel that way. Experts on this site are not allowed per site rules to direct customers on a specific path, although I did take the time to inform you on the law.

 

Please review the terms of service again, which state "You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains."

 

Best of luck to you.

 

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