I'd say there is no right or wrong answer to this hun do what you and your partner think is best. The third approach adopts the generic standard applicable to most disputes involving children--the "best interests of the child." The laws on unmarried parents’ custodial rights are complex and vary greatly from state to state. The answer to whether or not this can happen varies on the state that you are living in, and the laws of the state that establishes paternity. It recognized a "father's interest in having the child bear his surname," but it did not recognize a mother's similar interest as having equal weight. In some cases, the law prohibits an unmarried mother from giving her child the putative father's surname without his consent or an adjudication of paternity. The fourth is the reputation or meaning associated with a particular name. (These regulations have since been suspended.). When the child is born, the parents may disagree about what surname should appear on the birth certificate. One of the biggest parental rights is the right to consent or object to the adoption of one's child. My friend is in the same situation as you and has no intention of getting married - she just doesn't believe in it. As a result, fathers could insist that the child's birth certificate reflect that surname. You can do this before the birth or whenregistering t… How Birth Certificate Naming Disputes Are Resolved. For instance, in 1971, in Reed v. Reed, the Court struck down a state law that preferred male relatives over female ones when it came to deciding who would be the administrator of a decedent's estate. In North Carolina, an unmarried mother who has a child has the primary right to the custody of the child. The father's name will also trump if the mother is terrific, and the father is barely adequate. As with birth certificates, states have statutes to address name changes. 13-1-124, the Colorado juvenile court has jurisdiction if the child or one of the parents lives in Colorado, and … After the birth certificate is completed, another naming issue may arise if the parents divorce or split up. Will you double barrell the both? We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the, Breastfeeding: the trick to a comfy latch. Often, a custodial mother will seek to change the child's surname to the new stepfather's. Sexism can easily creep into the application of the multi-factor test that courts use to evaluate the child's best interests. The percentage of unmarried pregnant women who lived with their baby's father by the time of the birth jumped from 8 percent to 28 percent. In California, as in many states, parents are free to give their child whatever last name they choose, including the mother's surname, father's surname or a completely different surname altogether. If the parents are not living together or are not intending to raise the child together, the father will also need to petition the court. One of the biggest parental rights is the right to consent or object to the adoption of one's child. You can name your child whatever you want. It, too, is vulnerable to sex bias. My parents aren't married either and my brothers and I all took my dads surname. Unfortunately, however, despite the custodial parent presumption, a sexist court can still deny a mother's name change if the judge feels it is detrimental to the child not to carry the father's surname. Perhaps the most significant decision a parent makes is choosing the perfect name for her child. They were a natural outgrowth of other rules dictating men as the head of families. The first is the child's own preference. Prior to 1970, many states, by statute or common law, dictated that fathers had a right to have their children bear their surnames. For example, let's say that the father died while your child was still a minor. This depends on the family situation: 1. To do so, both parents must go to theRegistrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships to registerthe choice of the mother’s surname. The #1 app for tracking pregnancy and baby growth. The Father, our client, was very happy to have his son’s name not be his estranged Father in Laws name “Gordon” and was happy to share the baby’s last name with his ex-wife. The ruling wrongly honored a longstanding, unjustifiable, sexist American tradition of paternal naming. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently adopted six such factors. The fifth is the difficulty the child may face as a result of either keeping the existing name or adopting the proposed one. Indeed, commentators such as University of Oregon Law Professor Merle Weiner have argued, persuasively, that none of the three modern approaches to child name changes is, in practice, truly sex-neutral. I have been considering this too, we havent been together very long and my name is DEFINATELY not one you could hyphenate with anything being descriptive! Parents who live together but are unmarried may face some unique issues, the biggest of which is establishing paternity. That means, among other things, counting a mother's interest in passing on her name as heavily as a father's interest in passing on his - which the court in Jeanty v Marshall failed to do. In the 1970s, however, the Supreme Court began to recognize a constitutional right to sex equality, rooted in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A child’s legal name will be the name on their birth certificate which is used for legal, administrative and official purposes. When my unmarried parents discovered that my mother was pregnant, two things happened. Other states provide that a court must decide, based on the best interests of the child, what surname should be entered on the birth certificate in the case of parental disagreement. Pros: Although this arrangement is much less common (4 percent of families, according to BabyCenter's survey), it's a good choice if sharing a name with the kids is more important to the mother than to her partner, or if she wants to encourage the child to identify with her heritage. In the end, the social practice of patronymy probably will continue to dominate, simply because it has been the status quo for so long. "Our baby will be taking my wife's last name," … Unmarried partners can decide to choose one parent's last name, hyphenate both last names, or create a new last name that combines both parents' names. Which surname will the baby have? Traditionally, children born to married parents have the same last name as their father. Copyright © 2021, Thomson Reuters. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. This is not sex equality; it's court-enforced sexism. I will be giving my baby my second name, as me and the baby's father are no longer together. 13-1-124, the Colorado juvenile court has jurisdiction if the child or one of the parents lives in Colorado, and … Yet patronymy was, and remains, dominant in the United States--at least for children born in wedlock. Patronymy is the practice of giving children the surname of their fathers. Pros: A new name, a new life -- there's an inherent "clean slate" feeling to creating a new last name, even is all you've swept away is the headache of deciding whose last name baby … The second approach - the presumption toward the custodial parent's naming - might seem to actually favor mothers. Last name issues with unmarried parents... what's best? The tradition for nonmarital children is the opposite--they are usually given their mother's surname. Parents don’t need to be married to add the father’s name on the birth certificate, and the child can have either parent’s surname. We will get married at some point (probably) so I will do the same with baby no.2 however in December I went to Disneyland Paris with a friend and both our children and on going through customs they asked - 'who is he to you' I replied (a little insulted) 'my son' he then said 'how do I know that?' Fathers will have a better chance disputing a child's last name if the child's paternity is established and on the birth certificate. Parents may give their child any name they choose. Could your one of the last names be bubs' middle name maybe? "My parents-in-law were really upset when I chose to give my daughter my surname," says 40-year-old Jill, who lives in Sydney. Later, organizations like the Center for a Woman's Own Name, founded in 1974, took up the cause. Married parents commonly share a last name and the child will also take the same last name. I had this problem with DS even though DH and I are married, due to stuff with my visa i couldnt change my name to his till recently I have to do it before this baby is born so all my notes will be a mess with the change of Name on them. The second approach is exactly the opposite: It gives little weight to the status quo. Sometimes, she will seek to change the child's surname to her own "maiden" or birth name. But these statutes, unlike birth certificate statutes, often simply set out a general standard. This article provides only a brief, general introduction to the topic. In that case, New York law was applied. In this case, your child lived with each of you an equal amount of time so neither of you is the custodial parent as you both had custody. In small towns, where everyone knew everyone else, surnames were not particularly important anyway. We recommend using "It's also a way of trusting in the marriage -- … How Name Changes Disputes Are Resolved: The Three Main Modern Approaches. An unmarried father, on the other hand, must establish paternity before he can claim any custody or visitation rights. I think it is honestly a personal preference and also if you know you are going to definately get married then that is a big part of the decision. Legal rights of unmarried couples if one dies Unmarried cohabiting couples have no automatic right of inheritance if their partner dies without a Will. How The Supreme Court's Sex Equality Cases Led to Changes in Naming Laws. If your baby's father is involved, then naming him on the birth certificate doesn't necessarily benefit him, but it could benefit your child. "My parents-in-law were really upset when I chose to give my daughter my surname," says 40-year-old Jill, who lives in Sydney. But if at any time they separate, the father will need to petition a court to establish custody rights. Note: There are no fees for registering the birth of your child, or for the first birth certificate after registration. (A skilled laborer might be known as "Goldsmith"; John's son might be known as "Johnson."). If an unmarried couple is raising their child together in the same home, custody is not an issue. But it does mean the name will die out as its very unusual and my mum and dad are a little horrified at this...I prob think best to have dads name as it would help with bonding so am confused! Doing this creates the presumption that he is the father of the child. When I had my son in Feb this year we gave him my Partners name. (A few countries, such as Spain, follow a matronymic tradition. The rules for nonmarital children may be different, however - favoring or requiring that the child bear the mother's surname (or at least not the father's surname). Her mother, who was never married to her father, petitioned a New York Court for permission to change her daughter's surname to her own, Jeanty. "Our baby will be taking my wife's last name," says one expecting BabyCenter … But as applied, the standard plainly favors fathers, not children. im putting the BDs name on the birth certificate for other reasons, but the baby is getting my last name simply because i know he isnt gonna try to be around and the BD hasnt been around except for the first 11 weeks of the pregnancy, now he is engaged again =) haha, but if he WANTED to, in tennessee, he could take me to court and the baby could get his last name, but … All rights reserved. "They just couldn't accept it. Another rule exists when unmarried parents live together through the entire tax year. But the law need not perpetuate it. Disputes about naming typically arise at one of two stages: choosing the child's name that will appear on the birth certificate, and attempting to change that name later. im putting the BDs name on the birth certificate for other reasons, but the baby is getting my last name simply because i know he isnt gonna try to be around and the BD hasnt been around except for the first 11 weeks of the pregnancy, now he is engaged again =) haha, but if he WANTED to, in tennessee, he could take me to court and the baby could get his last name, but … Of course, this varies somewhat by geographical region and urban versus rural areas. I'm happy with it but I have to be honest I do feel embarrassed when giving our names for something, like baby group or at the docs. State laws vary regarding the right of the mother to solely choose the child's last name. Firefox, or Your child will automatically be given the father’s surname. However, when parents are unmarried, they will have different last names. The first approach favors the status quo - that is, the original name. Add Friend Ignore. Put another way, the "detrimental to the child" loophole means that patronymy can continue if the judge thinks it's a good idea. In Florida, for example, a child whose mother and father both have custody but cannot agree on a surname will be given both, hyphenated, with the names appearing in alphabetical order. Moreover, if the mother tried to change the surname--post-divorce, for example--she was usually unsuccessful, unless there was evidence that the father had forfeited the right. If the court accepts the evidence, then private bias can become a factor infecting a court name change order. That is hardly an equal right. So after I calmed down and spoke to him about it I understood what he was trying to say (abduction, etc....)  and he advised to carry a copy of his full birth certificate with his passport if I was travelling without my partner. Only a showing that the change to a particular name will be detrimental to the child can limit the exercise of this right. You also may list him as the father of the child on the birth certificate. (which to be honest is a nicer name in my opinion). c. Caroline1986. After all, mothers are still more likely to be custodial parents. When an unmarried couple adopts a child jointly, they're both the child's legal parents, with equal rights and responsibilities to the child. Parents who live together but are unmarried may face some unique issues, the biggest of which is establishing paternity. Its up to you hun at the end of the of the day, do whatever makes you both happy. They have been engaged for about 10yrs but haven't ever got round to marrying but when they do the kids will have different names from their parents. After the birth certificate is completed, another naming issue may arise if the parents divorce or split up. One Victorian study from 2012 found that 90 per cent of children have their father’s They, instead, were forced to institute a formal name change proceeding for the child subsequent to birth. If this is the case, the parents must discuss and determine which last name they will give the child or if they will give the child a hyphenated last name. He was born and living in the Philippines up to now. The third is the length of time the child has used a particular name. Naming the Father Benefits Your Child . Am engaged to my partner, we have been together for 5 years. These laws were replaced, by statute or judicial decision, with ostensibly gender-neutral standards. But they are both short (2 sylables and 1 sylable) so it is not an overly cumbersome last name. Their baby has a hyphened last name of the two surnames. my unmarried friends with children the children all have the fathers name,  i will just say that in the hospital the baby will be tagged with your name from birth and refered to by your name till you correct the staff. We have been together 5 & half years (and should have been married already but cancelled it 3 months before hand!!!). Some other issues include parental rights in places such as school and medical facilities, choosing a last name for the child, and claiming the child as dependent on your taxes. This is true even if the unmarried parents separate, in which case each parent has a right to ask the family court for custody, visitation, and child support from the other parent. Baby gets the mom's name. If you do not choose a surname, your child will automatically be given thefather’s surname or the mother’s surname. One concern that many parents face is the issue of whether or not a child who is the product of two unmarried parents can have his or her last name changed to the name of the father. Microsoft Edge. But they are both short (2 sylables and 1 sylable) so it is not an overly cumbersome last name. I have another friend who gave her DD her partner's surname (she didn't even think about giving her own name) and they aren't engaged. I suppose it just seemed like the right thing to do. Its crazy to think my partners mum or sister could take him away and not get asked any questions but when I do I could be stopped! In effect, this means that mothers only have naming rights when their children's fathers have done something to lose their own naming rights. But as population increased, and the need to distinguish between individuals with the same first name increased, surnames became more important. New York is now a "best interests" jurisdiction. In our case, the one discussed above, the Judge changed the child’s name to Joseph Birch-Collins. By the middle of the Twentieth Century, coverture was abolished everywhere. ... accompanied by a hashtag combination of the last name and the word "baby." He agreed to let baby have his last name only as long as child looked like him otherwise baby would have hers. Under this approach, a court does not start with any presumption favoring, or disfavoring, the status quo. A New York Court's Ruling Reinforces Sexist Traditions. For unmarried parents, your child can be registered under either parent's surname. The bottom line is this: Under the New York decision, mothers will not be able to change children's surnames unless the father fails to meet some minimum standard of fatherhood. As you can see, it’s a very fact specific question. If you would prefer your child to be given the father’s surname, he must acknowledge the child. Colorado has adopted the Uniform Parentage Act, codified at 19-4-101, et seq.Under that statute, and under the "Colorado long-arm statute" at C.R.S. The second is the potential effect of the name change on the child's relationship to either parent. Another was primogeniture, the rule of descent that dictated the first son to be the sole inheritor of his father's real property. Children of unmarried parents told us that at their schools, families come in such diverse forms (single parents, gay/lesbian parents, stepfamilies) that having a mom and dad who live together without being married isn’t much of a big deal. S… By virtue of regulations adopted in 2000, the District of Columbia required all marital children to bear the surnames of their fathers. A baby can be given any surname- it does not have to be yours or the father's. Pros: Although this arrangement is much less common (4 percent of families, according to BabyCenter's survey), it's a good choice if sharing a name with the kids is more important to the mother than to her partner, or if she wants to encourage the child to identify with her heritage. "Experts" may testify that children who do not have their fathers' surnames face social ostracism or teasing. Rather, the law should be true to its constitutionally required sex-neutrality. Our baby will have my partners surname (its a big thing for him because he is the last one left to carry his family name forward). Decisions like Reed--and subsequent ones that denounced state-sponsored sex discrimination even more resoundingly--marked the end of an era in which states could allocate burdens and benefits on the basis of sex, at least without having a very good reason for doing so. But in practice, it favored the father. But I really wanted my baby to have my last name, but that breaks SO's heart, and since its a boy we are having a Jr. and everyone else including my family agrees the baby should have SO's last name! Accordingly, it rejected the mother's name change petition because she failed to show "any evidence of misconduct, abandonment, or lack of support" by the father. But what we do is take the interest of the child and that is why the mother's surname will then take effect because she is the one who has given birth to the child. Initially, a child is almost always given his father's surname. For example, consider the factor relating to the difficulties a child may face because of the adoption of a particular name. "They just couldn't accept it. In California, as in many states, parents are free to give their child whatever last name they choose, including the mother's surname, father's surname or a completely different surname altogether. But it still denied Breana's mother's request - on the ground that Breana's father had done nothing sufficiently wrong to forfeit his right to pass on his surname. The court noted that under New York law, "neither parent has a superior right to determine the surname of a child." How Name Changes Disputes Are Resolved: The Three Main Modern Approaches. Breana Te-Sha Marshall lives with her mother, but she carries her father's surname. Almost a century before, the Lucy Stone League had advocated - for the most part, unsuccessfully - for the right to sex-neutral naming laws, which would guarantee that wives could keep their own names, and that children's names would not necessarily follow that of the father. My partner and I aren't married, I don't think we will be for a long time yet but it is something I'm sure we will get round to eventually. Colorado has adopted the Uniform Parentage Act, codified at 19-4-101, et seq.Under that statute, and under the "Colorado long-arm statute" at C.R.S. Surely it would be easiest for the child to have 1 surname, but then again it is both our baby and would be nice to include us both. A child can have the mother’s surname, a hyphenated name made up of both the mother and father’s surnames, or any name the parents choose. Unmarried parents (of different sexes) Your child will automatically be given the mother’s surname. Joanna Grossman, a FindLaw columnist, is an associate professor of law at Hofstra University. I am unmarried woman from the start when the baby only fetus and I giving birth to my son year 1999 and only parent sign to his birth certificate and use all my middle initial and family name. Accordingly, it should treat mothers fairly when they seek to have their own surnames on their children's birth certificates, or to change their children's names in the event of divorce or break-up. As happened in the New York case, courts may articulate a sex-neutral standard, while in effect applying a sex-biased one. That brings us back to the case of Breana Te-Sha Marshall, and her mother's unsuccessful name change petition. Remember that for any child born before December 2003 (4th May 2006 in Scotland) to unmarried parents, the father’s name on the birth certificate gives that father only limited legal rights in respect of his child. When two people have a child out of wedlock, custody of the child is immediately awarded to the mother, though the father may pursue custody for a variety of reasons. His Nan asked him last night a question that hasn't even crossed my mind. Child custody is often complicated, but when the parents are unmarried, establishing parental rights can make custody, visitation, and child support more problematic. Put another way, when both parents are adequate, the father's name will trump. They also had obvious relevance to traditional naming laws - which gave the father a naming benefit, while denying it to the mother, solely because of gender. Instead, it evaluates the name change petition against a list of factors the prior decisions have deemed relevant. This might occur when a child takes her stepfather’s name at adoption, or a parent changes a baby’s last name after a divorce. Unmarried fathers can go to court to dispute the last name of their baby, but judges almost never change a child's last name without cause. In the case of a dispute, the touchstone is supposed to be the child's best interests. Instead, it gives the custodial parent the right to choose the child's surname--including the right to adopt a new one. 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Nan asked him last night a question that has n't even crossed my mind 'husband.... With a particular name will be registered under the father of the two surnames that has even! Above, the District of Columbia required all marital children to bear the surnames of their fathers a skilled might. An overly cumbersome last name if the court to deny it getting married some... Yours or the father 's surname name, as me and the father as your 'husband ' to... This is not an issue the head of families also take the same situation as you can do this the. Wanted the child 's surname because of the child can limit the exercise of this.! And has no intention of getting married at some point the baby 's father are no longer.. A hyphened last name of the day, do whatever makes you both happy vary greatly from state state. Was, and remains, dominant in the first son to be unfit, these rights change! Have to be custodial parents at Hofstra University proposed one is established and on the birth certificate may arise the.