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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 31769
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My husband for 16 years was recently contacted by a 17 year

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My husband for 16 years was recently contacted by a 17 year old young man that is the son of a girlfriend he had before we dated. He was told by his mother that my husband is his father. He does look much like my husband. My husband knew she was pregnant at that time and she offered for him to sign his rights away as she wasn't sure who was really the father and they weren't in love. He did sign away his rights before the child was born. Now his son is wanting to change his name to ours and we have all become very close including our other 2 sons. The mother is saying that he must add his name to the birth certificate as father when/if we do change his last name to ours. From what I've read, we can change his name without doing that. If we change his name will it make my husband liable for back-child support? I'm leary at this point. He graduates from high school this coming May and will be 18 in August. I don't want our new relationship to become soured by legalities or revenge. It seems to be on the up and up but you never know.
Thank you,
Texas Mom
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

Your husband giving up his parental rights BEFORE the child's birth is not legally effective. He could not give up his rights legally until the child was born. Thus, your husband should still have legal rights.

As for changing his name, if the child and his mother and father (if there is a father named on the birth certificate) are agreeable to changing the child's name to your husband's last name, then it is a fairly simple process and just takes a petition for name change. Here's a link with a sample petition:

However, doing this will not make your husband legally considered as the father of the child, and would not create any legal relationship.

If your husband wants to be the legally recognized father of the child, he would have to file a petition for paternity to be established by a DNA test. If the DNA test results prove that your husband is the father, then he would be considered the biological parent of the child, a new birth certificate can be filed, etc.

Also, it is POSSIBLE that if your husband is determined to be the father that the mother can seek back child support from his birth up to the present. The mother would have to seek to do this before the child is 18. Thus, there is a possibility for this to happen.

If you were to wait until the child turns 18, he can file a petition to change his name without his parents and you should also not have any threat of child support being sought.
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