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Can I change the name of my children after a divorce?

Many Nevada parents who end up with full custody of their children may wish to change the last names of their children. For example, mothers who changed their names upon marriage, often choose to revert to their maiden names, and when doing so they consider changing the names of their children as well. What does the law say about this?

Traditionally, it has been held that the father of the children will have the legal right to insist that his children keep his last name. That is, if the father fulfills his parental duties. However, in the modern era of child custody rulings and same-sex parenting, the notion of the father’s right to bestow his name upon his children could be waning.

Since Nevada courts will always defer to the best interest of the child, this might be one reason for a parent to assume decision-making power over the last names of his or her children. For example, courts might consider the age of the child, the strength of the mother-child relationship, the strength of the father-child relationship, how long the child has maintained his or her father’s name and any negative impacts that could arise if the child’s name change were granted. Ultimately, these will all be weighed with the best interests of the child.

Las Vegas parents who are considering a name change for their children following a divorce can speak with a divorce lawyer about the prospects of doing so in their cases. A divorce lawyer will be able to determine if a suitable strategy could be developed to assert such a request in court.

Source: FindLaw, “Changing Your Name After Divorce,” accessed Nov. 15, 2016

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