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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37871
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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If I am an unwed mother who desires to change my childs name

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If I am an unwed mother who desires to change my child's name to my maiden, instead of the father's, may I do this without court intervention?

1. Did the father sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, when the child was born, so that his name would appear as the father on the child's birth certificate?

2. Or, did you name the father on the birth certificate without the father's consent?

3. Or, does the birth certificate display no father's name?

4. Or, have you already filed a petition to determine paternity, custody and support, and has the court declared the identity of the father in a final judgment of paternity?

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1.father did not sign official P.O.P

2. I did not list father s name without consent

3.Cert. displays fathers name

4. I have not filed to petition to determine paternity custody and support and court has not declared identity of the father.

Sorry for the delay -- I had a conference meeting.

If the father is on the birth certificate with consent, then he has the legal right to be heard by the court concerning any request to change the child's name. Your only option would be to bring a petition for custody and support, and as part of your petition you can request that the child's name be changed to reflect your last name. If the father consents, then the court will change the child's name and order the Bureau of Vital Statistics to issue an amended birth certificate. If the father challenges the name change, then while it's possible that the court might still change the child's name, it's not very likely. So, if your only goal is to change the child's name, rather than to formally establish custody and support, then you may be wasting your time involving the court.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
What if he is unfit and unable due to mental illness and substance problems. What if my son wants it?
You would have to petition to terminate the father's rights entirely. Since he is not paying support or visiting the child, you have standing for this petition. However, you must obtain written consent from the Office of the Children's Attorney in your county, before you can file the petition. Then, the court would hold a hearing, where the father would be entitled to court-appointed legal representation to try to challenge the termination of his parental rights, if he chooses to do so. And, if the court rules in your favor, the father becomes a "legal stranger" to the child, and the court can order the name change as part of the final order terminating the father's parental rights.

This is a pretty difficult case to pursue. If you cannot afford a lawyer, then you may want to try a legal aid service:

New Mexico Legal Aid
Program Phone:(NNN) NNN-NNNN
Legal Assistance:(NNN) NNN-NNNN

Hope this helps.

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