One of the most confusing aspects of divorce is what to do with last names in the aftermath. For example, in the event that a woman changes her name upon marriage, it is relatively easy for her to revert back to her maiden name upon divorce.

However, the situation is much more complex when it comes to children. Traditionally, if the father was actively involved with raising the child after a divorce, he had the right to insist the children keep his last name. However, as with many things, courts are starting to take a different look at this arrangement. According to Findlaw, it is not common to be able to change a child’s last name after divorce, but in certain circumstances it is possible.

Can a I change my child’s name to match mine?

If a mother is reverting to her maiden name, she may find it preferable for the child’s name to match hers. This is particularly salient if she also has full custody of the child.

Under current laws, it is possible to change a child’s last name, but not common. Ultimately, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Important factors include how long the child has been using the father’s name, the relationship between the child and the mother versus the child and the father, and any other potential benefits are negatives to a name change.

Does a legal name change reflect any other changes?

Generally, no. If the mother has full custody of the children and the father had visitation rights prior to a name change, that arrangement will stay true. It also does not change anything related to child support payments or rights of inheritance.