Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) What is the best way to proceed
?Texas Law Help
has forms online that can be downloaded for changing the name of a child
. The form is fairly self-explanatory.
The only issue I can foresee is that generally both legal parents have to sign off on the name change
. If you do not know who the biological father is, and your daughter does not otherwise have a "legal" father (i.e. someone who has adopted her or who is listed as the father on her birth certificate), the court may require you to give notice of your daughter's impending name change to the biological father.
How do you give notice to someone when you don't know who or where they are, you might ask? You publish a notice of your daughter's intent to change her name in the official newspaper of your county. This could be embarrassing for you and your daughter, as it would mean you have to say in a public newspaper, in essence, "to the unknown father of (your child's name)...wherever and whoever you are, we want to change her name to
..." etc. If the issue of your child's biological father's identity is a fact you wish to keep private, then it won't be private any longer after you publish it in the newspaper.
Since your child is almost 18, if she can wait until her next birthday, she can do the name change herself
without the need for a parent to sign off. Perhaps you can make that her 18th birthday present. Although there are additional steps to take, no public notice to her unknown parent would be required as she is legally an adult at that point.
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