Newark, NJ asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Family Law for Pennsylvania

Q: ive had custody of my nieces since 2009 after my sister died. Can i change their last name? and can i adopt them?

i had custody of my oldest niece since 2009 before she died which was in 2011 i then obtain custody of my other niece. what are my legal rights to change their last name? and rights to adopt? when all this occurred i was living in NJ now i live in PA...Their father isnt in the picture anymore. i tried to connect with him so he can spend time with them but he seems to not care and he was also in prison when i obtain custody of my nieces. He doesnt call, or see them at All this has been going on since he came out of prison in 2012.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kathryn Hilbush
Kathryn Hilbush
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Media, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Where is their father? In order to adopt them you'd have to have his parental rights terminated and possibly go through a home study. To change their surname only, you'd still probably be required to notify him of your intention. I suggest that you contact a local attorney experienced in adoptions to discuss your options.

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