18 answers

What Are the Steps to Take to Change My Children's Last Names to My Husband's?

My husband and I have been married for almost 5yrs now. We have been together for 7. I have a son and a daughter from a previous relationship, but when my husband came into the picture they were 2 and 4yrs old, so my husband is pretty much all they know as a father. Their father takes no part in their lives at all. My children have my last name and their father is not in the birth certificate. So my question is how do we change their last names to my husband's last name? What are the steps to take and how long does it take? Thank you in advance for all your help :)

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Thank you everyone for all the input :) It definitely has helped me a lot. Thank you for the resources and encouragement :)

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Here's a link to the CA courts website help section. It has all the questions and answers about changing a child's last name on it.


Be sure to read and understand that changing your children's name to your husband's name does NOT make him a LEGAL PARENT of theirs. It simply gives them his name. The ONLY way to make him a LEGAL parent is for him to adopt them. And that's a whole other issue. But there's also a Help section for THAT too.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear Ellie,
You do not have to have a formal adoption to have a child's last name changed.
It's a long story, but my sister changed her son's name to her 2nd husband's last name.
Contact the county courthouse where you live or call a legal aid office to receive a name change packet.
It will outline all the rules, etc.
My nephew's father took off before he was born and stole everything he could get his hands on from our entire family on his way out. My sister could prove she had no idea where he was and just had to file papers then place an ad in the legal section of the newspaper near his last known address so he could come forward and object to the name change.
He didn't want to be found, so it all went off without a hitch. Your case could either be easier or more complicated by the fact the the father's name is not on the birth certificate.

Dear Ellie,
My mom remarried when I was 3. Her husband was the only father I ever knew. At 9 years old I asked him to adopt me. I love him dearly. You are blessed to have a good man. Sorry I can't answer your question, but wanted to encourage you. God Bless.

I think your husband may have to adopt them in order to have their name changed. You might find answers on the Social Security page or by calling your county registrar (in the blue government pages of the phone book) or the office of vital records....

Hi Ellie,

I found some info on the process at the link below. I changed my daughters middle name on her birth certificate and it takes about a year. I'm not sure about the process involving the last name, although it may be less involved if you don't have to change the info on their birth certificate. Good luck.


Not sure how it's done these days, but when we had the same situation nearly 40 years ago with my son, my husband and I went to an attorney to have my husband adopt my boy. We had to wait for a four week period during which an advertisement was put in the papers to allow the natural father a chance to come forward and protest (because we didn't know his whereabouts). If you know how to contact the natural father of your children, you may need some paperwork from him to assure that he isn't going to come back and try to assume his parental rights. Once our waiting period was over, it was a simple process of paperwork and a judge's approval. In our case, the birth certificate was changed to show my husband as the father. This has caused some quite interesting situations because my husband is younger than I am, and was only thirteen years old when my son was born. The only drawback to having the husband's name listed as the father - with no record of the natural father's name - that I can see is if your children ever wish to research their genealogy. For that reason, I would suggest you keep a record of all you know about their natural father and his family. Even if you have no desire to have any contact with them, your children have a right to know. At least that's my opinion, and I found that by my son having access to that information he was better able to accept my husband as his father during the 'difficult' years.

go to the web site for your county clerks office. They have all the paperwork. Be forewarned that changing names isn't cheap. I have a horrible last name that I was planning on changing until I found out that it would cost me about $600 (and yet a marriage license is only about $50 and comes with a free name change.)

Hi Ellie,

There is a website called www.USLegalForms.com that you can go to. They have everything you need! I hope this helps! Isn't nice to know that the Lord is our banner, and that he goes before us!He is hope to the hopeless, a friend to the friendless, our helper in ALL our times of need!

A little about me:
I am 35, and happily married to my best friend of nearly 12 years! I am a stay at home mama, and a home schooling mama to 4 incredible little men ages 9 1/2,7, and twins that are 5. We are a Christian family, and I love that I can know, understand , and receive God's amazing grace every day of my life!

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