Names of kids

My oldest two (12&14yo) want to change their name to have their step dad adopt them. They haven’t seen their father in 10 years and he doesn’t call. I have no idea where he is. There is an automatic withdrawal setup for $513.00 a month for child support but that’s all. Does this count as abandoning? How do I change their name if I don’t know where he is and can’t get him to sign anything? The girls really don’t want anything to do with him. Thanks!

You must have the biological father’s consent to change a minor child’s last name.

It is possible that you could have the father’s parental rights terminated due to the fact that he has willfully abandoned the children in that he has not made any efforts to visit with them, contact them, etc. in 10 years. If you are able to have his parental rights terminated, then the stepdad would be able to adopt the children and become financially responsible for them.

You would still need to locate the father to be able to serve him with the petition to terminate his parental rights or to gain his consent to change the children’s last name. If all due diligence to locate him and his address fails, you can serve by publication.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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