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Does noncustodial father have any right to force his last name upon his child?

Your Question:
Hello and thank you in advance for any advise. I am the proud father of a 14 month old child. Things didnt work out between my exgirlfriend and me so we split up before my son was born. Long story short, I took her to court and asked for a dna test so that I can establish joint custody of my son because she kept lying and saying that I wasnt the father. She doesnt want to add my last name to my sons. Right now he has only her last name and I simply want to add mine as well. I have taken her to court about 5 times now (without a lawyer) asking for more than the initial 2 hrs every other Sat I was given. And to avoid any further confrontations with her interfering husband. I just want my son to be proud of his lineage but she refuses. So my question is: Do I as a father have any rights to add my last name to my son's?

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My Answer:

First, if you've been to court 5 times and only have 2 hours every alternating Saturday with your child, you're not in a good position for anything.

It means that you REALLY need an attorney to represent you (because you are awful at representing yourself), or it means that you have serious parenting problems that has a court very concerned.

With regard to your specific question, I can understand you wanting your child to have your last name, even if hyphenated with the mother's last name.

Given your history with the court, I don't see the judge doing much of anything for you if the court has any discretion on the surname issue.

If the mother has sole legal custody, your answer is a definite NO.

If you have joint legal custody, I'm not sure of the answer and encourage you to consult an attorney in your county. The answer may vary from state to state.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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