In Nebraska, a parent wishing to change a child’s name may petition the court for a name change. However, changing a minor child’s name can be a complex legal process. For example, you must file your Petition and give formal notice to the other legal parent that you intend to change your minor child’s name. This Notice along with the hearing date must also be published in a local newspaper. If the other parent consents to the name change, he or she must also complete a “consent” form.
If the other parent does not agree or consent to the name change, the Court will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether changing the minor child’s name is in his or her best interests. In Nebraska, the Court will grant a name change “only when the substantial welfare of the child requires the surname to be changed.”
A review of Nebraska case law sets forth the following factors that the Court may consider when determining if a name change for a minor child is appropriate:
- Misconduct by one of the child’s parents;
- A parent’s failure to support the child;
- Parental failure to maintain contact with the child;
- Length of time that a surname has been used for or by the child;
- Whether the child’s surname is different from the surname of the custodial parent;
- Child’s reasonable preference for one of the surnames;
- The effect of the change of the child’s surname on the preservation and development of the child’s relationship with each parent;
- The degree of community respect associated with the child’s present surname and proposed surname;
- The difficulties, harassment, or embarrassment that the child may experience from bearing the present or proposed surname; and
- The identification of the child as part of a family unit.
At Koenig|Dunne, we know that a legal name can have a powerful impact on your identity. If you’re interested in changing your minor child’s name, contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss the legal procedure and analysis of the factors set forth above as they relate to your case.