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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced, and knowledgeable family law attorney.
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I have a 17 year old daughter who wishes to have the same last

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I have a 17 year old daughter who wishes to have the same last name as the man who she calls Dad but is not the biological father. Her stepfather and I have been married for 10 years but has been in her life 11 years. I do not know who her biological father is. What is the best way to proceed? We live in Texas.
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.

I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
S. Huband, Esq. and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again,

I was notified that you rated the answer I gave positively, and I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,