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Author Topic: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia  (Read 16818 times)

durandal09

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Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« on: Apr 16, 2009, 02:43:29 PM »
Hello, my username is durandal09, but I've posted many times in the past under durandal. Its been awhile and I guess the system didn't recognize me - oh well.

On to the FACTS:

1) I am BF and CP, thru court action. Child's age is 3.

2) BM and I have never been married nor lived together. We however regularly talked prior to the birth about issues surrounding the unborn child.

3) Child was born in Virginia Beach, VA. At that time all parties resided in Virginia Beach. Currently BF and child reside in Chesapeake, VA. BM still lives in Virginia Beach, but doesn't have a current legal address.

4) I was not present for birth and for subsequent birth paperwork, including birth certificate/name.

5) At time of birth, BM decided to give child her last name despite prior agreement between us both.  She also assumed custody by default until court action.

6) Around time of birth, I contacted the Child Support agency, entered myself into the system, and paid child support for the first year without missing a single payment.

7) I was awarded custody approximately at childs' 1st birthday.

8) NCP has court arranged visitation but cannot keep schedule. NCP is currently homeless by eviction (Aug 08). Prior to eviction NCP rarely kept visitation schedule.

9) 100% of all expenses, care and rearing are managed by me. BF has child support arrearage since inception (part of custody/court action) - hasn't paid $0.01 of support.

Now, on to why I want to have child's last name changed:

1) I would like for my only child to have my last name.

2) NCP has had four other chances to raise her offspring (NCP has five children total) and has not done so. All children reside with their BF's.

3) NCP is manipulative and violent, and has leveled many threats, including the name issue (which became a reality).

4) NCP has assaulted me, but its amazingly difficult for a woman to get charged assault. BM does have a conviction for domestic violence in a prior relationship.

5) Child has support from extended family on my side only, and I want there to be no uneasiness or stigma following her as she grows up around my relatives.

6) I would like to start generating some financial investments for the child this year, and would like to avoid any complications later in her life.

7) I would like to avoid any awkward situations in her schooling and with her peers regarding her family status and name. While I don't think the child is aware, I have already noticed some peculiar behavior and attitudes from caregivers where this is concerned.

My questions:

1) I have heard its very difficult here in VA to get a last name change where both parents don't agree on the name change, but why should the BM's rights trump mine (or the childs)?

2) Where would jurisdiction be - where we reside now or where we were at time of birth?

3) Does anyone know of jurisprudence or good argument(s) that I might use in this matter?


Kitty C.

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #1 on: Apr 16, 2009, 03:06:49 PM »
There's no arguing in this matter.......either both parents agree or they don't.  As long as she has parental rights, she has just as much say-so in the matter as you do.  Until and/or unless her rights are terminated, it must be mutually agreed on, because BOTH parents have to sign the order for the name change.
 
And it doesn't make any difference where you file....but I do believe that jurisdiction would be dependant on either where the current orders are established or the child has lived for the past 6 months or more.
 
I can certainly understand your frustration in the matter and no, it doesn't seem right, especially with her history, but that's the way the system works.  Because it's there to protect those who would arbitrarily change a child's name which would make it easier to abscond with them.
 
The best advice I can give you is to have infinite patience........with her history, it's very possible she could screw herself out of her parental rights and if that happens, you're free to do whatever you like.  And if that doesn't happen, you can wait until the child turns 18 and they can file to do it themselves.
 
My brother's SD wanted to change her name to his (her dad was basically non-existant in her life), but of course BF said no.  But the school 'allowed' her to use his name informally, though all official documents with the district had her real legal name on it.  But when she graduated, even though her diploma had her legal name on it, they announced her name using both last names.  She seriously considered changing it when she turned 18, but she hasn't done it so far.  Not sure why, but that's up to her now.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

ocean

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16, 2009, 05:12:51 PM »
Kitty is right...you need a letter with a notary signature from the other parent PLUS put it in the paper and get is signed by a judge. We were able to get a hyphenated name with fathers support but he would not sign off on just my married name and he does not see the kids at all (his choice). I made the hyphenated name: married name-fathers name. Kids only use married name except for very legal things in school. Teachers are fine with just the first part. Maybe should would allow you to do that??

Would the BM sign off her rights if you tell her you will drop child support (since she is not paying anyway)

durandal09

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #3 on: Apr 17, 2009, 01:17:26 PM »

Kitty is right...you need a letter with a notary signature from the other parent PLUS put it in the paper and get is signed by a judge. We were able to get a hyphenated name with fathers support but he would not sign off on just my married name and he does not see the kids at all (his choice). I made the hyphenated name: married name-fathers name. Kids only use married name except for very legal things in school. Teachers are fine with just the first part. Maybe should would allow you to do that??

Would the BM sign off her rights if you tell her you will drop child support (since she is not paying anyway)

 
Well lets see... since the BM is a control freak I don't see how me asking is going to miraculously give her a change of heart, so the answer to that is no - I don't see her agreeing to that.
 
Besides, where's the stick to go along with the carrot? She is not penalized for not paying her support, so why would she feel the need to negotiate? I have no stick, except the one that keeps getting shoved up my...
 
I'm sorry about that.... no I'm not. I'm going to go have a drink now. Thank you both for the advice and wisdom.
 
 

durandal09

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #4 on: Apr 17, 2009, 01:26:57 PM »
By the way, the siniley face with the glasses... was inadvertently put there, did not preview it but NEVER would have put it there on purpose. This is a very serious and painful topic for me so I wouldn't do that.


Kitty C.

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #5 on: Apr 17, 2009, 01:50:48 PM »
No apology necessary.......sometimes these issues hit a nerve and issues like this can keep the nerve exposed for a very long time.  I understand your frustration as it certainly appears that she's getting off scott free.........that's the nature of the current system.  Which is why we're also in the battle to change the system, so our children won't have to be used as pawns for ineffective courts and vindictive exes.
 
Just remember to try to keep unrelated issues separate, like support and the name issue.  And keep your eyes and ears open...you never know when an opportunity will arise that you can take advantage of.  Here's a thought:  since she's not paying support anyway, maybe sometime you could offer her a deal that if she gives up her parental rights, you won't ever go after her for support anymore.  If she agrees and follows through, then the door opens for you to seek a name change.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

Davy

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #6 on: Apr 17, 2009, 02:32:59 PM »
I adamantly disagree.  A parent should not be able to hold-out or black mail the other parent for a sweet financial deal especially to be rewarded for HER own wrong doing.
 
There's absolutely no argument that the Father had rights at birth and he should have "mutually agree"  to the name on the birth certificate.
 
This parent and child should go before a court requesting the proper name for the child and politely present his case like he did on Sparc explaining the mother conducted a fraud on the child, the father, and society.  See what lame excuses they come up with.
 
AND this rhetoric about "Change" of the laws ... most everybody would like for current laws to be followed and children and father's be treated equally with fairness.
 
 
 

Kitty C.

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #7 on: Apr 18, 2009, 11:33:09 AM »
Davy, it's not blackmail............if a parent gives up parental rights, they no longer have the financial responsibility either.  It goes hand-in-hand.  Now, many jurisdictions may not approve of a parent giving up their rights unless there's another step-parent willing to step up to the plate, even to the extent of adoption.
 
Yes, the father should have been present when the birth certificate was done, but he wasn't and this is the consequences.  He could make a petition to the court for a name change, but IMO he would be really wasting his money and time.  I know of no state or jurisdiction that would allow only one parent to change the name of a child if the other parent still has rights as well, regardless of the circumstances.  Either both parents agree or if one parent gives up their rights, then the other parent has the right do whatever they want.  If anyone can fine a jurisdiction that would rule otherwise, I'm all ears.  In a previous job, I interviewed parents in the completion of birth certificates and I know of no changes in the laws that would allow any differently.
 
There's nothing rhetorical about today's custody laws..........so many of them are archaic and need to be changed.  Some states are finally coming around slowly, but so much more education and changes need to be done.  Here in my state, it has come down to education, mainly of the judges who rule on these cases.  We now have better laws than before but they are not perfect either.  So even if the laws were followed, too often fathers and children would still get short-changed.  More legislation and education is needed, until it is the norm that shared physical and legal custody is a fact of life, instead of something that has to be fought for.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

shaden3

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #8 on: Apr 18, 2009, 12:09:47 PM »
In re terminating parental rights, sometimes this is in the best interests of the child clearly, sometimes it is not. More often, however, it's both good and bad.
 
When we discuss terminating parental rights, we need to consider the longer term efffects of such an action. Heartbroken kids, usually around adolescence and towards teenagehood (also when marrying and having children themselves) tend to look towards roots as anchors. When a growing child has to deal with a parent who terminated rights, the pain can be internalized and this is often when we see drug use and other self-destructive behaviors.
 
Please, please be careful when discussing termination of parental rights. It may be a short-term fix that creates a long term heartbreak. If we are talking about keeping our kids safe, of course, it may be the answer. However, if we're just not wanting to deal with the other horrible creature anymore, it may be a much more complex decision to make.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Thou shalt not be a victim. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.

Kitty C.

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Re: Q: Getting a last name changed for a minor in Virginia
« Reply #9 on: Apr 18, 2009, 04:11:36 PM »
Boy, obviously I ran this thread off in the ditch and I apologize to one and all.  The intent of this thread is about changing the name of a minor child, NOT about terminating parental rights.  I know I brought the subject of termination up, but it was ONLY in the context of that being the only way this poster could change the child's name without the other parent's permission, nothing else.  I apologize if anyone misunderstood my intention of bringing it up in the first place.
 
I wholeheartedly agree, termination of rights should only ever be a last resort, and IMO only if not terminating rights would be more detrimental to the child than to do so. 
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

 

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