In a California paternity case, can the father asked to have the surname (last name) of the child?
Whether the Court will change a child's last name or not depends on various factors that I will set forth in a moment. To be clear, fathers do not have a "primary right" to have the child bear his surname.
Now the factors considered by the Court include:
- The length of time a child has used a particular surname;
- The effect of a name change on the preservation of the father-child relationship;
- The effect of a name change on the strength of the mother-child relationship;
- Whether the child is in a new family unit bearing a different surname;
- The embarrassment or discomfort the child may experience if she or he bears a different name;
- Balance of the role of surname vs. importance of maintaining biological father-daughter relationship.
Again, these factors do not exist in a vacuum, but must be considered collectively. It is more difficult to change a surname when more time passes and the child becomes familiar with their surname. Do you need help in possibly changing your child's surname or need to oppose a request to change your child's surname, contact Covina attorney Paul Eads to explore what options are available to you.