Can I Stop My Former Partner From Changing My Child’s Name In Texas?
A child’s name is important. Following a divorce or separation, some parents desire to get their child’s name changed. It could be their last name, their first name, or both. In Texas, parents have the right to petition for a child. When the child’s legal parents do it together, a Texas judge will generally allow the name change to go forward.
You may be wondering: What happens if only one parent wants to change the child’s name? The answer is that it is still technically possible to get a name change, but the non-consenting parent has a right to be served with proper legal notice and the case will go to court. Here, our Galveston County divorce lawyer provides a guide to the child name change laws in Texas.
Texas Gives Parents Wide Discretion for Child Name Changes (With Agreement)
A minor cannot petition to change their own name in Texas. Under Texas Family Code Sec. 45.001, a petition to change the legal first name or legal last name of a kid can only be filed by a “parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a child.” The petition to change the name of a child should be filed within the county where they live.
Note: A child who is ten years old or older may be able to block a name change in Texas. While they cannot petition for a name change, Texas law requires the written consent of older children before a name change can be finalized by a court.
Joint Filings are Allowed, Not Required
Parents can file for a joint name change—but that is not a legal requirement in Texas. Any individual with parental rights, a managing conservatorship, or who is otherwise the legal guardian of a child has the standing to file a petition for a name change. That being said, it is significantly more difficult to get a child name change approved when one parent refuses to give consent.
A Non-Custodial Parent is Entitled to Notice of a Proposed Name Change
When both of a child’s parents submit a joint petition for a name change, neither parent is entitled to notice. When only one of a child’s legal parents submit a petition for a name change in Texas, he or she has a legal duty to serve official notice on the other parent. Notice should be provided by a constable, sheriff, or private process server. If your former partner is trying to change your child’s name without giving you legal notice, your parental rights have been violated.
A Child Name Change Dispute May Be Decided By a Texas Judge
If there is a dispute over a child name change, the case will go before a judge. Among other things, the judge will review the reasoning behind the desired name. Both parents will have a chance to present their case. The judge will ultimately make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
Get Help From a Galveston County Family Law Attorney
At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Galveston County family lawyers provide solutions-centered legal guidance. If you have any questions about the child name change laws in Texas, we are available to help. Give us a call now connect with us directly online for a strictly private review and evaluation of your case. We provide family law representation throughout all of Galveston County.