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Who's Name Does Baby Get in TX When Parents Aren't Married?

My step-daughter is having her first child soon and does not have a good relationship with the father of her child and they are not married. I was wondering if there were any special laws in the state of Texas regarding which surname the baby takes and what kinds of pros/cons are involved.

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Wow! Great responses all around and surprisingly almost all of the information was the same. Thanks to everyone that took the time to respond to my question.

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I would think it's up to the mother to decide on the last name of the baby in this situation. Side note. Inquire with the Texas Attorney General's office for Child Support ie Guardian Adlitem (spelling) Program. There's a program that you can get child support from the guy. If skips one payment, the state will go after him.

J. the baby gets the moms name. if the father wants his name on the birth certificate he has to do a paternety test

From my experience in the social work and medical field, a child can be given any last name. It does not have to be the last name of the biological father, even if the father is listed on the birth certificate. The father being listed on the birth certificate is what gives legal standing for child support without doing DNA tests. Hope that helps.

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The people who said they contacted the attorney have the right idea, if you have the time contact legal aide. If they are not on good terms and will not be having a chance of a future relationship then it is understandable the baby NOT having his last name, but if she is going to want to collect Child Support which she should then she may have to list his name on the Birth Certificate. If they are going their seperate ways this would be the best option, that way if he denies C/S then it will be easier for the state to go after him to collect. My sister had her 1st at 15, she listed the father as "Unknown" the baby has our last (maiden) name, she is now 24, at 18 she started looking for her father, she found him and it was not all she thought it was going to be. That is something else to....will your step daughter want to keep this information from the child as the child gets older, or will there be a relationship with the bio-dad? The last name is not the only issue, and if you had a crystal ball things would be alot easier!!!! Good luck and try to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You've gotten some very accurate answers and I just wanted to add that she doesn't even have to give the baby her last name or his last name, she can choose any last name that she wants.

hi J.. i just had my son two months ago and i am not married to his father. in fact i have two boys now by the same man and we are not married. two months ago when i had my second born i filled out the birth certificate and my common law husband *thats what I call him* signed his name on the birth certificate. this gave my son his last name. lets say worst case scenario he wasn't there for us. then the lady who helped me fill it out told me i would just put my last name as his last name. and if i ever had to put child support on him that there was a number on the paperwork so i could proceed with that. of course in that case a dna test would proceed and then once it was proven then he would liable for the child. understand? i hope this helps.

You can choose the last name you want to give the child. I have a son, and gave him his father's last name. I felt it was important for him to have that link to his father, even if he wasn't around often. I wanted him to know who he his. He lives with me so he will always have that.

Additionally, my parents divorced when I was young and my mother remarried. Like someone else mentioned, I did feel bad that my last name didn't match everyone else's in the house. Now that I'm older, I am glad I still have my father's last name. It's who I am. I am a part of him, and whether our relationship is good or bad, that's just the way it is. (smile) It helps me to embrace all of who I am.

I'm sure your step-daughter will make the decision that's right for her family. Pray about it! :)

The child will recieve the mothers last name unless she signs a waiver stating the father and her are common law married.

As for pros/cons, there really are none. Its just a name.

There's no real guideline on that. It's really up to the individual personality of the judge but my experience in the last 20 years is the father's name will be preferred if he is involved. If there is any way for them to talk it through with a counselor or parent coordinator, they should try that. They would have the benefit of a neutral child specialist for setting schedules etc. and discussing things like the last name and have more control. J. D.

Why is everyone making this so difficult while this is extremely easy! Okay for a child under the age of 3 or 4, the mother can choose the last name at the time of birth and up the time the father is adjudicated. If or when that is done and if the father opposes the child's last name while the mother refuses to have it changed, the courts would have to intervene. If the father has positive working relationship with child and intended continue doing so by contributing support and exercising visitation, the courts will side with the father’s last name. This is not always the case, but 99% of time it is. This may seem unfair to a mother, but try to understand there is always a possibility the mother’s last name may change leaving the child’s last name without either parent. For the best interest of your child, try to understand how they would feel not having any obvious extinction to either parent in regards to the last name. … Thank you , I hope I saved you from your attorney fees and child’s emotional damages.

Texas Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
PO Box 12040, Austin, Texas 78711-2040
Telephone ###-###-####

You need contact the heath dept to find out what the law states. Most states DO NOT allow you to give a child a another person's last name if they DO NOT CONSENT, meaning the father has to be at the birth to sign to say "this is my child".

I just recently moved to TX. so I can only speak for the east coast, but in MD DC and VA even if a couple is married and the man is not there to sign the documents acknowledging paternity, the child is automatically given the mothers last name, regardless of martial status.

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