Orange County Divorce: Children’s Surnames

On occasion, the court in a Los Angeles County or Orange County divorce action may be called upon to decide the surname to be given to a minor child. The specific issue may be either (1) the name to be used by the child initially (and the name to be listed on the child’s birth certificate) or (2) whether to change a previously given name.

Whether the issue arises at birth or at some subsequent time, the question is to be decided according to the child’s best interest. Marriage of Douglass (1988) 205 CA3d 1046, 1054. Among the factors the court might consider in determining what surname is in the child’s best inteerest are as follows:

1. The length of time the child has used a particular name;

2. The nature of the child’s relationships with his or her respective parents,

3. The effect of any proposed name on those relationships;

4. The child’s need to identify a particular family unit through the use of a common name. Marriage of Shiffman (1980) 28 C3d 640, 647.

For more information on chaning the child’s name or if you wish to file a divorce action in Los Angeles or Orange County, contact an Orange County divorce lawyer for more information.