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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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My husband walked out when I was 5 months pregnant with our

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My husband walked out when I was 5 months pregnant with our son. When he was born I gave him my maiden name. My husband apparently filed a petition to change my son's last name. This was done 8 months ago. I was NEVER made aware, never served, nothing, even though we see each other on a weekly basis! He was scheduled for a hearing in January at which time the judge granted his petition since there was "no objection made by the defendant". I would never have known except that when I told my husband I wanted a divorce in April, he threw the paper at me as a " ha ha screw you. look what I did" move. When I took the paper to the courthouse they told me I couldn't do anything about it since the time for appeal had passed. Is there anything I can do? Is what he did illegal? I'm assuming ( from talking to lawyer friends) that the judge had to have at least ASKED how I was served and since I wasn't, whatever he told him was a lie. Isn't that perjury? If I need to get a lawyer can I turn around and sue for the lawyer's fees if he is found out to have perjured himself?

Thank you in advance.

PS we live in PA.
Thank you for your question. I happen to be a Pennsylvania licensed expert.

This is very much an unusual question. The reason why this is unusual is typically under PA law a child, if born to a married couple, is by default given the father's last name. Here, it is possible that the modification was done simply under the grounds that this was an initial mistake during birth. However even so you ought to have been properly served since under PA law BOTH parents have to be served and/or consent to a name change for a minor child. What you can do now is file a petition to "set aside" the decision on grounds of improper (or rather, lack of) service and request a re-hearing. You can then, via your attorney, request by subpoena that the other party provide proof and evidence of property service; if unable to provide, counter sue for wrongful institution of civil proceedings, request that the judge consider pursuing perjury charges, and request attorney fees for the hearing.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for such a quick response. One question, I was under the impression that I could give my child whatever last name I chose. Was my not giving him his father's last name illegal in any way?
Thank you for your follow-up.

Actually you are both correct and incorrect. You are free to give your child whatever last name you chose. However, so can your husband since legally your custodial rights to the child are exactly the same. You not giving the child the husband's last name is XXXXX XXXXX however, it is just uncommon.

Good luck.
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