Virginia Name Changes: A New Name Change Case!

Assume that a child is born to unmarried parents.  The child’s surname at birth is her mother’s maiden name.  The child’s mother later gets married to another man and she takes on his surname.  The child’s surname remains unchanged.  So, moving forward, the father has one surname, the mother has another surname, and the child has another surname as well.  Should the father, who is the primary physical custodian of the child, be able to change the child’s surname to his surname so that the child’s surname matches at least one of her parent’s?   Doesn’t my old blog post at least intimate that there is some argument that the name change can be granted despite not meeting any of the Flowers factors?[1] Continue reading

Can You Change Your Child’s Last Name After a Divorce in Virginia?

Can you change your child’s last name after divorce in Virginia? What if the other parent objects?

A person seeking a change of name for themselves or their minor child can petition, under oath, the circuit court where that person, or his or her minor child, resides for an order changing that person’s name.  Virginia Code Ann. § 8.01-217(a) and (b).  If a minor child’s name is sought to be changed, the parent who does not join in the application shall be served with reasonable notice of the application pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-296 and, should such parent object to the change of name, a hearing shall be held to determine whether the change of name is in the best interest of the child.  Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-217(a).  The court, shall, unless the evidence shows that the change of name is sought for a fraudulent purpose or would otherwise infringe upon the rights of others or, in a case involving a minor, that the change of name is not in the best interest of the minor, order a change of name.  Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-217(c). Continue reading