Can I have my kids' last name changed?

After my divorce, my children kept the last name of their father. I kept that name as part of my new last name when I got remarried, since all my kids’ friends and people at school identified with my ex’s last name. Now my ex has apparently changed his own last name (from another country and they use several in a string). Do my kids have to keep his last name if their father is no longer using that name himself?


Ex: John McPherson
Me: Mary McPherson Smith (Smith being last name of new husband)
Kids: Joey and Adam McPherson

Now ex changes his own last name to Williamson: John Williamson

I would like to simplify our family name and just go by Mary Smith and have the kids use that name too. Are they allowed to do this if we can show that their own father is no longer using their legal last name??? Kids only see my ex a few times a year and identify more with their stepfather.

No, you can’t change their name until their biological father’s rights are terminated or the age of the name change statute is met, which I think is 16. And the Court of Appeals has made it clear there is no best interests analysis for a name change of a minor.

What if the biological father agrees and gives consent to a name change (as in my case), are you saying we can’t do that in NC until the child(ren) reaches 16??

Yes, if he is consenting then it should be fine.