When divorce in Illinois is a messy emotional affair, it typically comes on the heels of an equally messy relationship. Couples often experience many years of difficult interpersonal conflict before deciding to get divorced, with the result that they may not want anything to do with each other once the divorce is finalized – even if they share minor children.
It is easy for partners who changed their last name when they got married to revert to their original last name after a divorce is finalized – doing so can simply be part of the divorce judgment. However, parents who want to change their minor child’s last name as well can run into significant challenges.
When Can a Child’s Last Name Be Changed After Divorce?
Every decision that affects a child’s life after divorce is under scrutiny by the court. Parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, where a child lives – these things must all be approved by a judge and parents can be penalized for not following a court-ordered child custody order.
While there are many factors a judge considers when deciding whether to approve a proposed change in the child’s life, big or small, the most important of these is whether the change would be in the child’s best interests. Just because a parent firmly believes something would be in a child’s best interests does not mean a judge will agree.
For example, even when parents have a difficult time getting along and struggle to manage their minor children peacefully, a judge will still almost always require both parents to be involved in a child’s life because that is in the child’s best interests. Unless there is a compelling reason for one parent not to be involved in a child’s life, such as domestic violence or abandonment, a parent will usually still have at least supervised access to a child.
Changing a child’s name after divorce is subject to similar restrictions. If a child has grown up carrying her father’s last name, changing that name to the mother’s last name after a divorce will likely only be possible if the father is no longer involved in the child’s life at all. Judges will consider what impact the name change is likely to have on the child, whether the child is old enough to contribute her opinion on the matter, and whether the name change would affect the child’s relationship with her father.
Call a Lombard, IL Family Law Attorney
If your goal is to change your child’s name after your divorce is finalized, the experienced Lombard, IL family law attorneys with A. Traub & Associates will help you explore your options and, if this is a possibility, help you petition the court for a name change. You can put your trust in our decades of experience by calling our offices today at 630-426-0196 to schedule your confidential consultation.