Q: What are my options in either hyphenating or changing my daughter's last name without my ex husband's consent?
When my daughter was born i was engaged to her father. It seemed only natural that she should have his last name. We got married and then within a year we divorced. I never took his name. I have full custody and he has limited parenting time which he has barely used. Cumulatively he's spent less than 48 hours with her in four and a half years. He's also never paid child support.
Since she was old enough to understand the concept of a last name she has known only mine.
She's going to start kindergarten in the fall and I'd like to be able to register her for school with my name. Her father isn't likely to agree to even hyphenate her name so that both of our names are represented.
My daughter and I are both residents of Oregon's Multnomah County. He's currently in jail in Cowlitz County, Washington.
You can read Oregon's name change law here: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/33.420 It states that written notification must be sent to the other parent. It doesn't require that they consent. However, the implication is that once they get the notice they could file an objection. Given that father is in jail, it may not be easy for him to object although I suppose he could write to the court. (My assumption is if the court get's an objection from the father they will set a hearing. The court will still have the power to order the name change even if the father objects. I think your concern that the child be comfortable with a name that matches your name, or is a hyphenated name is a good reason.
As a practical matter, you could talk to the school about the child using your last name as a psuedo-name (or nickname) although her legal name will still be on her official school records. Remember that Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Clemmens. So people can and do use adopted names for their daily lives. It is just that the legal name will have to used on any legal identification. (I agree that the better option is to change her name. Also in today's world of the internet having her father's last name could lead to bullying if her classmates look him up and discover his criminal record.)
Most court's have name change forms available for you to use. I would caution you to have an attorney review the forms before you file them with the court. You can have problems at the end of the name change process if the Department of Vital Statistics rejects the final Judgment of Name change when you send it in to amend the birth certificate. It is very important to make sure that the information in the paperwork from start to finish clearly identifies your daughter so that the final judgment will be accepted by the department of vital statistics. Remember, you will be dealing with the department of vital statistics in the state she was born. so even thought they should accept an Oregon name change Judgment even if this is in another State, you might want to contact them ahead of time and make sure that you have all the information they need in your paperwork that you file with the court.
A: You can use whatever name you want for your daughter, as long as it is not for fraudulent or deceitful purposes or does not violate a court order. Joanne's answer below is correct: To legally change your daughter's name, you would ordinarily have to give advance notice to the other parent. You don't have to give notice to the other parent if the child does not reside with that parent and that parent has not contributed to the support of the child. Because the other parent has not resided with the child and has not contributed to the child's support. you would not have to give notice to the other parent to legally change your child's name.
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