27 answers

Baby Last Name

Okay im a soon to be dad. My wife is 5 months pregnant. Does anyone know what are the rules in california as far as last name go?
My wife wants both our last name to be on the birth certificate and im okay with that as long as my last name is the primary last name.
So my question is how should we put it on the birth certificate to make sure we have both last name but make my last name the primary name? By the way me and my wife kept our own family name.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I know a family where they combined both last names with just a capital letter in the middle and no space. i.e. John SmithDoe The husband, wife and 3 kids all are like that.

In NY, babies get their mother's legal last name, unless a parent specifically requests something else, then there is a ton of paperwork to be filled out. For example my kids have their father's last name, not because it's HIS last name, but because it was MY legal last name when they were born. It is good to work this out beforehand. However having been through it multiple times, you'd do well to let Mom call the baby what she wants, tehehe. Congrats, and Good Luck!

More Answers

Hyphenate it or give him your wife's maiden name as a middle name(or even first name). I would like to add that I hyphenated my last name as:
A. mine-his. I go by his name however. He told me this was going to give me problems later in life. He was RIGHT ! Had I put my husband's name first I could have avoided many government problems with social security now that I'm retired. So, kinda keep that in mind. I don't know California's rules are so good luck,
A.

2 moms found this helpful

To be the primary last name, it is the last name on the cert. Even if there are 6 names on there, whichever is first is first, and last is last. Hyphenating actually creates an entire seperate set of circumstances (the double barrelled last name... and the protocol there gets a bit dicey... because it changes via culture and usage). In my personal experience in a hyphenated DB name, the most prestigious/powerful/oldest name goes first, while in a non-hypenated DB, the primary goes last. But again. That, too, changes via culture and usage.

Fun wiki on the subj.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-barrelled_name

1 mom found this helpful

My kids have both last names with no hyphen and I just have to say that it is a nightmare for certain things: medical records, insurance cards, school... Might you consider giving your child two middle names (the chosen middle name and your wife's last name both as middle names) and yours as the formal last name? That would give the child both, but avoid a lot of confusion with schools, DMV, passports....

1 mom found this helpful

You have probably already been over this with your wife, but would she consider her last name being the middle name of the child? I understand where she is coming from. The way our society does it feels unfair. I gave up my last name and always sort of regretted that, but I am glad I didn't saddle my kids with a last name as long as your home state.

1 mom found this helpful

By using a hyphen and putting your last name last? If your wife's last name is Smith and yours is Jones then your child's name would be:
"First name, Middle name, Smith-Jones"

I am pretty sure the "rules" on these things, these days are pretty relaxed and you can name your child whatever and however you want to...as long as your both present at the hospital to sign all the papers!

1 mom found this helpful

there aren't any rules, do it however you like. pain in the butt for your kid, but you can put it on there however you want it.
khairete
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Call the state office that issues the birth certificates and ask. Why dont you consider a hyphenated last name with hers, then yours? If not why dont use consider your wifes last name as the middle name of the baby? Hope this helps. Congrats to both of U.

1 mom found this helpful

The last name on, is the primary last name. I'm hyphenated with mine and my hubs name and everyone when they read it on paper just calls me by the last name listed, my hubs. Congrats on your soon to be bundle of joy!

1 mom found this helpful

I grew up with a hyphenated last name. It was sometimes a pain in the butt because it was SO long but I used ALL of it. It happened that my father's last name came first, I think because it sounded better that way, so maybe you would consider that my primary last name. Although I guess if someone were to shorten it they probably would have taken the last of the two last names (my mother's). However, I never allowed it to be shortened and would insist on both if someone tried. Usually no one tried because it was pretty clear the whole thing was meant to go together with a hyphen in the middle and no spaces. When I got married I ultimately decided to take my husband's last name and it is much nicer to have only four letters instead of twelve but I kept those twelve letters for 25 years and rather liked them.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think there are laws concerning last names. I have heard of people naming their kids with last names that are different than both of the parents. What you and your wife put on the birth certificate is what the baby is named.

The primary last name would be the one to be listed last. Unless you hyphenate the names, then the name before the hyphen becomes primary because that is how the name is alphabetized. Or, your wife's last name could become your child's middle name.

Most forms we fill out in this country allow for three names (first, middle, last) which makes things a little difficult for people given four or more names, but having four or more names is "legal".

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know about the "laws" in CA specifically, bu the child usually takes the man's last name. Or hyphenated like James Michael Smith-Jones.
OR he could have your wife's surname as a middle name James Smith Jones or as a second middle name James Michael Smith Jones.

1 mom found this helpful

I know a family where they combined both last names with just a capital letter in the middle and no space. i.e. John SmithDoe The husband, wife and 3 kids all are like that.

In NY, babies get their mother's legal last name, unless a parent specifically requests something else, then there is a ton of paperwork to be filled out. For example my kids have their father's last name, not because it's HIS last name, but because it was MY legal last name when they were born. It is good to work this out beforehand. However having been through it multiple times, you'd do well to let Mom call the baby what she wants, tehehe. Congrats, and Good Luck!

You can name your child whatever you and your wife want. You can make up a completely new last name for your entire family if you choose. For example, I had friends who got married and turned Anderson and Johnston into Anderjohn and their kids then got this united name. Thought it was an interesting approach.

I was born with a last name and since that was who my husband met and fell in love with, I kept it. I mean really, why do parents even bother giving their daughter a last name if she is just going to abandon it when she gets married and her husband finally grants her the privilege of his name?.

Our children have in theory two last names but what they have legally is two middle names. So the full name might be "William Henry Mine His"...But as far as all official forms and sports jerseys go, their last name is "His".

We live in CA and we both kept our last names. we gave our daughter my husband's last name and then used my last name as one of the two middle names.
being a wife who kept her name, I can see the desire to have my last name be part of the last name of the child, but for practical reasons, and lots of comments on this below, seems easier to have one last name, no hyphen. I also think for school it's nice to have the child's last name match at least one parent and in our society, still the man's last name is considered the lead last name.
I'm fine with that, hopefully your wife will be too!

Well congratulations! I vote for your wife using her last name as a middle name and your last name as the last name. I don't think there are any specific rules in Calif. but I would check at the state office.

I believe each state could be a bit different but basically it is as other posters have said. Example: Michael James Anderson Smith (using the same example as another poster with Anderson being your wife's last name and Smith being yours). If you named him as above, your son would have two middle names (James Anderson) and his last name would be Smith. If you hyphenate his last name would be Anderson-Smith and Anderson would be used for filing and all legal documentation. I would recommend using your wife's last name as a middle name even if it means he has two. It is the easiest way to avoid all confusion/doubt over your child's last name.

I personally am not in favor of hyphenating a child's name (a grown woman hyphenating her last name when she gets married is fine).

I haven't read any of the responses, but our children have two last names. They are listed on their birth certificate and on their social security cards with no hyphenation. I am proud of my last name as is my husband of his so our children have a first, middle and two last names. So far (my oldest is 6) it has caused no confusion and my children have a strong identy with both sides of their family. This was a great decision for our family but may not be the perfect one for all. Good luck on your choice.

If that is the way you want it, it should read like this:

Baby's first name, middle name (if there is one), mommy's last name, daddy's last name. If you want to, you can hyphen both last names, but not necessary

You can name your child whatever you want as long as you and your wife agree.
The only downside I see to hyphenating is that whichever name you put first will be the last name.
For example...
John Anderson-Smith.
If your wife's last name is Anderson, Anderson will be used alphabetically for legal documents, etc. So, the last name would literally be Anderson-Smith, not Smith-Anderson, (pretending your last name is Smith).
The hyphenated name would be one name and not listed by the name that's last because technically, it begins with the name that comes first.
Confusing, I know.
If you don't want to use the wife's last name as a middle name, then I think you should just call the county office of vital records and ask them how it works just to be sure.
If your wife uses her own last name and you use your own last name, you have to decide down the road how the child will be referred to at school, etc, so I think this is a good question. Your child will get used to the name you give so if there is confusion, they will get used to that too.
No one ever pronounces our last name right and it doesn't even phase my son. He knows what his name is.

I wish you the best, and be sure to let us know when your baby arrives!

your last name first like this Smith-Jones ...i'm not with my son's father anymore and we weren't married..my name comes first then his..and my son doesn't use his dad's last name.

My husband and I are in the same situation. Our baby is due at the end of September and we have both kept our own last names. As per my culture's tradition, we also keep the mother's last name as well as the father's. We plan to have my husband's last name as the official last name and my last name as the second middle name. So our son will essentially have 2 middle names (i.e First Name - Middle Name #1 - Middle Name #2 (which is my last name) and Last Name (my husband's last name). It makes for a long name, but it preserves the tradition and allows our son to have both our last names on the birth certificate.

it would be John Doe Williams-Jones your name would go last and that's how you would put it on the birth certificate.

I highly recommend you using your wife's last name as the baby's middle name. I know it doesn't seem "equal" as your wife's name will not get as much focus. However, I think simplicity is key here. I have two last names (had to keep my original because I am an artist and name recognition important to keep) and it's a pain. Everywhere I go I end up being filed in the wrong place and have to say, it could be under F or it could be under H, etc. This is a case, where I would encourage your wife to let go and be as one under your name. Congratulations and best of luck!

First of all...congrats. =) I am in cali, and we hyphenated our daughters last name. Whatever last name in the hyphenation is first is the name that she would be filed under, used for legal documents, etc. However, when registering her for school you can register her under which ever last name you pick. They are all her legal names, and there is no such law that you have to go by ALL of your legal names for anything (an example would be you can exclude your middle name as part of your legal signature).
I know that once because I have never, and never will sign my first name in my siganture, I sign my first initial and last name. I actually had a bank argue with me over my own signature! Crazy.
Now I will tell you though that it might change by the time your child (or mine..she's only 18 months) goes to school. Good Luck!

Hello, I think that if (let's say your wife is Jones and you are Smith) you put her name first hyphenated with yours, that would make your's the primary. Example John James Jones-Smith.
Good luck with your precious little boy.
K. K.

Your wifes name will be on the birth certificate with her name anyway. I was married to my husband with his last name and they always ask for the mother's maiden name. It's a no brainer! My sister did not marry her baby's father and her son has his last name. It's his child and they usually take on the paternal name.

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