April 28, 2008,
C.M. asks from Woonsocket, RI on April 25, 2008
Marrying in June and Children What to Change Their Name Too...
I have two children, 6 and 9, who want to have their name changed too when I get married in June. They haven't seen their father in over two years. He still pays child support, but never comes around. When I mean never comes around I mean he doesn't call, doesn't visit, no birthday cards/presents, no letters-NOTHING! It's like he fell off the face of the earth, but still lives five minutes away. He doesn't pay interest in his children what-so-ever...all FOUR of them (only the first two are mine). My fiance, of whom I have been with for over five years, is very involved with my children. He takes them to baseball practices/games, picks them up from school, attends school activites, helps with homework, practices baseball with my oldest, goes to my daughters recitals, brings them to the park, wrestles with them, helps with discipline, goes out to dinner, to the movies, Chuck E. Cheese, parties-I could go on forever. He does everything a father should do, and acts as if they are his very own. The children have asked to take his name too, but I don't know how all this works. I don't know mine or my children's rights in this and if I would be able to. I also don't have the knowledge of what the father's rights are. Nor do I even know where to begin. I never thought in a million years that I would be even thinking this never mind doing it. My children even want my fiance to adopt them. Right now I don't see or have to talk to him. There was always an arguement and threats whenever I had to deal with him, so I am not looking forward to throwing this at him. Is this worth doing? Has anyone been through this??? Any and all advice will be appreciated.
C.G. answers from Portland on April 26, 2008
I don't have any advice for you, but I am in the same situation. I am getting married in July and my two want to change there name, too! I will be watching what people have to say so I can learn from this. Thank you for posting this question.
P.V. answers from Barnstable on April 28, 2008
Hi C.......first of all I want to say how very sorry I am that your children are going through this emotional turmoil in their young lives.
I think even before you pursue this emotionally you have to ask your former husband if he would agree to your request. In Mass. that is the first step to make.
I would let him know up front " his " children have requested this.
Are you prepared for a battle ??? I don't know if you'll have one but being prepared is always good.
If you still plan on being married in less than two months I doubt very much it will be settled by then.
Blessings to you and your upcoming marriage. P.
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R.F. answers from Boston on April 26, 2008
Sounds to me like your ex would jump at the chance to terminate his parental rights and have your fiance adopt the children. I say go for it! If that doesn't go over with the ex you could always have the children hyphenate their last names with his and your new one. Your wedding ceremony can be a "family" ceremony where your fiance actually marries you and the children as a family. I think it's wonderful that your fiance is so involved with them and they want him to be a part of them.
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T.W. answers from Boston on April 26, 2008
The same thing happened to me when I married in 2002. I checked out the laws. First, the children have to live or been living with your fiance for at least two years. We didn't live together so we had to wait, if you have been then it's a non issue. You have to file a petition for adoption with the probate court in your county and have him served. You know where he lives, so you pay a constable or the sheriff's dept. He then has a right (so many days or weeks) to respond. If he contests it, it will be a battle. If he doesn't or doesn't show up, at the hearing the judge will talk to the children. If allowed, child support will be terminated as well as parental rights. Just be prepared that if he fights you, and has been paying support, they probably won't let your new husband adopt. Nothing stopping them from calling him dad and thinking of him as one. And, because my sister in law did it, they can at 18 petiton the court themselves and it will go through.
T. M. Wambolt, Ashby, Ma
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K.M. answers from Hartford on April 26, 2008
This is a tough issue & I know several people who were faced with similar situations...in order to legally change the children's last name, the biological father has to terminate his parental rights. That means he would not be obligated to pay child support anymore. If he does that, your fiance could adopt them & have their name changed. Most bio fathers won't terminate their rights (not sure why) so I would look into possible hyphenating their last name to include the new married name...not sure if this is possible but I would check with social security and/ or family court. Hope this helps!
K.D. answers from Hartford on April 26, 2008
First you need to get a lawyer. Your ex would have to agree in court to give up his rights to these children ( and you give up the child support) and your fiance would have to adopt them. It's a long process and when it comes to men, their egos get involved and there is pride there, but maybe he will agree to it so he won't have to keep paying child support.
Sounds like you have a nice family... best of luck with your wedding and your "ever after"!
S.D. answers from Portland on April 26, 2008
How wonderful you are marrying such a terrific man!
Im pretty sure you need the kids biological dad to sign off on something. I would call your city hall or your lawyer and find out the paperwork and everything necessary.
R.C. answers from Boston on April 26, 2008
Your post doesn't say what state you are in, but I think most states have laws regarding name changes for kids and adoptions. You should consult an attorney, or call the child support office in your state to find out what those rules are. For instance, I believe a legal notice would have to be published in the local paper, and papers sent to the father notifying him of the intended name change. He would have the right to oppose that change. Also, I believe the absentee father would have to relinqish all parental rights, including the obligation of child support before your new husband could legally adopt them. Most absentee fathers, even the ones who live 5 minutes away and can't be bothered with their kids all of a sudden become very involved when they are threatened with losing any and all involvement with their children. It might "make them look bad" if they gave up their parental rights. Yeah, right! Check it out with the courts to see what needs to be done. Hope this helps. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
M.E. answers from Springfield on April 26, 2008
Hi, My sister is dealing with this now so i know alittle that may or may not help. First and for most the biological father has to give up his parental rights. Meaning he has to give up rights as a dad to your children. Once he does that then ur new hubby can patition the court of his intent to adopt your children. Your kids bio. dad will have no rights meaning he will not have to pay you child support and all major decisions about your kids are yours and your new hubby responsibility. Even if he is not involved in their lives he still has to give up his rights or you will have to go to court and petition the court that his rights be derminated and that is a whole different ball of wax. You may want to contact a lawyer and get some advice and check with the court system in your area so to how they handle these cases. Good luck.