Baby's Name


I’m writing on behalf of my friend who is facing an impossible situation. She is 38 weeks pregnant and learned a few weeks ago that her husband wants to leave her and move out (a little after baby is born) to begin their separation and “get the clock started” towards divorce proceedings. This morning she discovered proof that he is having an affair. She is irrate and wants him out of the house immediately.

Here’s the question - she wants to give their baby her maiden name. She is currently using her husband’s last name, but plans to change it back to her maiden name once they are divorced (or whenever she can), but wants to give the baby her maiden name immediately when he’s born. Can she do this? Does the husband have to agree to this? Will this impact her rights to custody, alimony, child support, or anything else that she needs to be thinking about?

Thank you!!!


The baby’s name will be the father’s last name as they will be married when the child is born. The child’s name will not impact either parents’ rights with respect to the child or any other issues in the case.


So she is legally required to give the child the same last name as the father?

If the father is not present at the birth, and she fills out the paperwork herself, she will not be allowed to write in her maiden name for the child? I’m just curious, I wasn’t aware of a law requiring the child to have the same last name as the parents.


I’m confused by your comment as well. I called the NC dept of vital records and they said that the last name of the child could be the mother’s or father’s (or any other name of their choosing).

I have tried to speak with the hospital as well to see what they say, but haven’t heard back yet.

I just want to make sure that her deciding to use her maiden name as the surname for the child wouldn’t adversely impact any of the future negotiations or divorce/custody settlements.


When the parents are married and living together the child will take the name of the father. This will not affect rights moving forward.


This child iis born within a marriage. Both parents have equal rights in regard to that child. He does not need to be present at the birth, he’s still going to be the father since they are married and the baby should have his last name. If she manages to give the child her maiden name then expect the father to contest it as part of the proceedings and expect that he will prevail in getting it changed.

I realize she’s probably very upset with her husband for the affair and rightfully so. I can’t imagine what that must feel like so late in a pregnancy. He might be a terrible husband but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be an awful father and I’m concern for your friend if she is already thinking terms of the child’s name. I hope she sees an attorney very soon to get guidance in what she can/cannot do when it comes to their child.