Changing Your Name or the
Name of Your Child in Court
Can I legally change the last
name of my child in Family
You can only change the last name of your child in
Family Court if there is a paternity (pa-TER-ni-tee)
case for that child. Paternity cases establish who is
the father of a child. If there is no paternity case,
you will have to go to Civil or Supreme Court to
change your child’s last name.
Can I change my child’s last
name to the last name of his or
her father if we were not married
when the child was born?
Maybe. If you were not married to the
father when the child was born, you
will have to prove that he is the father.
This is called establishing paternity.
This would happen in Family Court.
Please note: Having the father’s name
on the birth certificate does not prove
that he is the father.
There are two ways you can
• The father can fill out an Acknowledgement of
Paternity form, which says “I am the father.”
• You can petition the court for a Filiation
(Fil-ee-A-shun) Order. A petition is a written
request to the court. A Filiation Order is an order
from the court saying who the father of a child is.
If the father agrees to the Filiation Order, it can
be easy to get one. If he does not agree, there will
be a trial. The court may order a DNA test.
Once I have established
paternity, how do I change
Once paternity is established, the court will send
the Filiation Order to the Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). The DOHMH
will then process the order and send it back to the
Family Court. If both parents agree to the name
change, the Family Court CAP Unit will have both
parents sign the name change form, which will be
forwarded to DOHMH by the Family Court CAP
Unit. About 10 weeks later, DOHMH will send the
parents a birth certificate with the new last name.
The parents may take the completed form to the
DOHMH to expedite the process.
How much does it cost
to change my child’s
name in Family Court?