Many moms-to-be wonder can I give my baby a different last name? This page refers to the naming laws in the United States. Many countries have their own set of regulations, so please narrow your search to your respective country for the most accurate information.
This can be an emotionally charged topic if things aren’t going well with the father. It can also be a matter or women’s liberation, not wanting to go with the societal default of the man’s last name.
Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting question and brings up a lot of issues. But as far as the legality of it all, you can safely give your child a different last name or any last name you choose. But choose wisely. The name you give them could cause problems down the road.
Can I Give My Baby a Different Last Name? Answer: Yes.
There are no hard and fast rules stating what’s required in the naming of your baby, you’re free to name them most anything within reason. If you want to be like prince and name your baby an unpronounceable symbol then you might have a problem at the hospital. It’s best to take a calm and rational approach when naming your baby, and not use treat it like a fun activity or use it as leverage in your most recent argument with the father.
Any Legal Requirements?
In the United States there are no legal stipulations forcing you to give your baby a specific name. At the hospital you’ll be given the birth certificate and asked to fill out the required information. What you enter onto it becomes your baby’s name. It may seem simple enough, since there will not be any Naming Police standing over your shoulder while you write. But it’s an important decision, and just because there’s no one enforcing sanity at the time you make your decree, you should still make the correct decision for your child.
Concerning the Father
If you are not wanting to give the baby the last name of its father and are worried that you may not be able to get child support, or that there will be complications later if he claims it’s not his, you shouldn’t worry. Today, paternity tests have the last say in whether he’s the father or not and regardless of what last name the child has, he’ll still have to be responsible.
Concerning the Baby
It’s best to also think about the baby, and how they’ll react to their name later in life. If you’re going through a bad patch with the baby’s daddy, and you end up reconciling, your child may wonder why they don’t have his name. This will likely open up a discussion on the turbulent times you had years before.
Also, even if you don’t get along with the father, maybe your child will. So if you’re thinking of giving it a different name just to spite the father, you should re-evaluate your decision and keep your child’s best interests in mind.
Can I Give My Baby Any Last Name I Want?
Each state has its own stipulations, but typically there are few limitations to what name your baby, including a different last name. It’s your right as the parent to bestow their name that will be with them for at least the next 18 years. Of course they’ll be able to change it later if they don’t like it, but by the time they become an adult it will probably be part of their identity.
With celebrities changing their names all of the time, and even changing them to strange things like Los Angeles Lakers player Ron Artest changing his name to Metta World Peace, or Chad Johnson of the New England Patriots changing his last name to Ochocinco to match his jersey number 85, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal what name a child has. If you give them a different last name and they don’t like it, it’s just a little bit of paperwork at the county courthouse.
In the majority of cases, most people are happy with the names they’re given, and don’t think twice about it. It just seems natural to them. So in the grand scheme of things there’s not much at stake when it comes to the name you give your baby. Just do what you think is right and it will all turn out for the best.