Dear Famularo & Associates
I have an eleven-year-old daughter. She has never known her father. Legally, she goes by my maiden name. Her father was never even placed on the birth certificate. She has been raised by her step-father since she was three years old. She has asked me if she can go by my new last name, which is the same as her step-father's. I do not know how to contact the father of my child. Can I legally change my daughter's last name? If so, how do I do it?
R.E. in Murrieta
Yes, you can change your daughter's last name. However, since you do not know how to contact the father of your daughter, you will probably need a lawyer. In order to change your daughter's last name, you will have to file an application for a name change in your local courthouse. After you file the application, you will need to publish the name change in the newspaper and serve the father of your daughter.
Since you do not how to contact the father, you will have to get permission from the court to dispense with notice. This is done by filing a declaration stating that the father cannot be found and outlining the steps you took to contact him. Once the name change has been published, the court will give you a court date. At the hearing, the court will issue an order changing the last name of your daughter.
FAMULARO & ASSOCIATES
Attorneys in Temecula