Sometimes, what we think we want turns out not to be what we want at all. This “want” can range from employment and living arrangements to changing a name. As it pertains to changing your child’s last name, there may be several reasons why you would want to make such a big change. You may want to change your child’s last name because one of the parents has decided to give up his or her parental rights. You may want to change your child’s last name because someone whom you have married has decided to adopt your child. Regardless of the reason you have for wanting to change your child’s last name, it is important to know whether the state of Alabama allows for children’s last names to be changed at all. If you or a loved one is seeking information in this area, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Birmingham family law attorney so that we can strategize about the best possible outcomes for your situation.
Changing Your Child’s Last Name in Alabama
In Alabama, an adult, which is any person over the age of 19 years old can apply for a name change of a minor or anyone under the age of 19. To change your child’s last name in Alabama, the child must be a legal resident of Alabama, typically for at least six to 12 months. Once citizenship has been established, you must provide a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate to the court and both parents must sign a consent form. In the event that one of the parents is unknown or cannot be located, then an attorney is required for the name change.
Lastly, if your child is 14 or older, then he or she must sign the legal document and consent to the change, as well. It is important to note that even though there are consistencies throughout the state, the county that you and your child live in will determine the requirements as to the documents that are needed for you to obtain the name change for your child. Also, if the court finds that the child’s name being changed is not consistent with public interest or that a parent is trying to escape his or her obligations, the court may deny a request to change your child’s name. Because of this, seeking advice and representation from an attorney in the beginning can save you time, money, and energy.
Need Legal Advice?
Regardless of the reason for changing your child’s last name, Alabama has specific requirements that must be adhered to before a name change can be accepted. Changing your child’s last name can be a simple task or a difficult one depending on the parties involved and the documentation that you have. Because of this, it is invaluable to seek legal advice and representation if you are considering changing your child’s last name. If you or a loved one would like to change the last name of your child, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced family law attorney at Massey, Stotser, & Nichols, PC to help you navigate through this process.