Choosing the last name of a child is easy when the parents are married to each other. Most commonly, the child is given the last name of the father, but an alternative is to have a hyphenated last name with the mother and father's last names. The issue of choosing the last name of the child becomes more difficult when the child is born out of wedlock. Florida Statutes Section 382.013 establishes how a child's last name will be determined on a birth certificate. Basically, if the mother is not married to the father at the time of the child's birth, then the parent who will have custody selects the child's last name.
Oftentimes, when a child is born out of wedlock, the child is given the last name of the mother. It is often not until there is a paternity action filed that the issue of the child's last name comes up. At that time, if the father wants the child to have his last name, he will need to be able to establish that it is in the best interest of the child for the child's last name to be changed. The appeals courts have consistently found that establishing paternity alone is not enough to justify changing the last name of the child. Therefore, unless the mother marries and changes her last name, the court is very reluctant to change the last name of the child.
If you are currently wanting to establish paternity and have an issue regarding the last name of the child, contact Mara & Mara. We handle paternity cases in DeLand area, Daytona beach area, and Palm Coast area.