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Can I Change My Child's Last Name?

This is a relatively simple question without a simple answer.  In Kentucky, if both parents agree, a name change is fairly simple and can be accomplished with AOC Form 295.  Both parents are required to sign and have the form notarized (to avoid fraud). If both parents do not agree, then name change may be accomplished after a hearing.  The standards differ based on whether the child was born out of wedlock or during a marriage.  If born out of wedlock, the standards are "best interest" and a number of factors are spelled out in the Kentucky case of Hazel v. Wells.   If the child was born during a marriage and the name change is contested, the standard is higher as spelled out in Likins v. Logsdon  This higher standard is that the party seeking to change the name must "present objective and substantial evidence of just cause and significant detriment to the child before the child's name is changed..." Whether to change a name after a divorce is often a difficult choice for the mother.  It is even more so with respect to children and compounded by remarriage.  The father's involvement can have significant impact on the child. Changing a child's name can be difficult but may be very important in the maturation of a child.  Parents should seek to keep the children from adopting their particular point of view.   If you are seeking name change for your child, you should first speak with the other parent.  If the parents cannot agree, call an attorney for consultation.  In Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.  

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