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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33166
Experience:  JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
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I have full custody of my four year old daughter who bears

Customer Question

I have full custody of my four year old daughter who bears her father's last name although he is in prison and has never seen her nor supported her. I live in North Carolina and I believe he is institutionilized in New Mexico. I am taking my maiden name back and would like to add it to hers. Can I do this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome,

While you are free to change your name by petitioning the court to resume a prior name, you must typically notify the father of the request to change your daughter's name by having him personally served with the petition and summons you file with the court.

He must be afforded the opportunity to respond and defend normally and if he contests the requests, the petition may be denied by the court.

Here is a link that provides more information:

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Tina and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I just wish to add my maiden name to her existing name...I don't intend to remove his name from her file.
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
I see.

Do you intend to change her name legally or simply begin using the hyphenated name?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
May I just begin using it? Also, his name is XXXXX XXXXX her birth certificate and he has never validated her parentage. I gave her his name at birth because I thought she should know who her father was despite the circumstances. Although I think NC allows me to change her name legally since he isn't named on the record of birth and that came from the link you sent to me. Can you clarify please.
Expert:  Tina replied 4 years ago.
Right, if he is not listed on the birth certificate, he has no parental rights at this point and you could file the petition for name change without notifying him typically.

Or, you could simply begin using the hyphenated name normally, but at some point her legal records should be changed to reflect the usage other than her recorded birth name, which is typically done by obtaining a court order of name change.