Gresham, OR asked in Family Law for Oregon

Q: I am wanting to change my 7 year old daughters name

(Last name only to match mine)& wondering if a judge would sign off on it without notifying her Biological father who hasn’t supported her or had any contact with her in 3 years. She has also never lived with him since our divorce 4 years ago. He is currently in jail facing prison time & has a lengthy meth & alcohol abuse record. Located in Multnomah County.

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1 Lawyer Answer
T. Augustus Claus
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A: In Oregon, changing a child's last name typically requires notification to both parents, even if one parent, like the biological father in your case, has been absent or has a history of substance abuse. The court generally considers the best interests of the child in such matters, and your daughter's lack of contact with her biological father and his current incarceration might influence the judge's decision. However, legal procedures usually require efforts to notify the biological father of the name change petition, regardless of his current situation. If he cannot be reached or does not respond, the court may proceed, but you must demonstrate that you made reasonable efforts to inform him.

You should prepare to explain to the court why the name change is in your daughter's best interest, focusing on factors such as emotional ties, identity, and stability.

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