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Changing a child's last name after a divorce

Texas residents who are going through the divorce process may be wondering about whether it is possible for the mother to change her children's name back to her maiden name. It is not uncommon for a woman to change her last name to her maiden name after a divorce. However, there may be legal complications that arise if she is considering changing her children's names as well.

The traditional approach that many courts take is to preserve the father's last name when it comes to the children. In some jurisdictions, however, the court may determine how healthy the child's relationship with the father is when making the decision. Courts may weigh the child's age as well, and whether it would be beneficial to the child or not.

If a name change on behalf of the child is granted, the mother must realize that it in no way reflects the legal rights the father has with respect to his child. The responsibilities for the child's well-being, including visitation and child support, will remain subject to and governed by the original court order. The order may only be modified if the parents go back through the court process to request it.

There are a variety of issues that pertain to divorce, especially if a child is a factor. The rights of the grandparents, property division, who has primary custody of the child and the terms of the child support payment amount are common areas of focus. Those who are contemplating a divorce may wish to consult with a family law attorney to explain how these matters should be addressed. Such an attorney can also be of assistance after the divorce has been completed should a modification be needed to an existing custody or support order.

Source: FindLaw, "Changing Your Name After Divorce", accessed on Jan. 20, 2015

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