COA: Child’s name can be changed

A father can change the last name of a child to his despite the protests of the mother, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

A father applied to change his child’s name from the child’s maternal name to the paternal name. He had fought to become current on his child support, had exercised his parenting time and spent time taking the child on a number of trips. He also said he was facing a battery charge and had been arrested four times. The mother replied that she had never been arrested and the child was known by the maternal name throughout the community and has savings bonds in that name.

In the decision written by Judge Elaine Brown, she cites several cases in which the COA ruled the child should have the father’s name, especially if the father does not have primary custody like in this case. She wrote that “having a father’s surname under certain circumstances may be in a child’s best interest because it is a tangible reminder that the child has two parents and that this is particularly true when the father is the noncustodial parent.”

The father and mother share joint legal custody, the father has been prompt on his child support payments and has been substantially involved in the child’s life, Brown wrote.

“Based upon the factors discussed above and the evidence in the record, we cannot say the trial court’s decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before it,” Brown wrote.

The case is Korie M. Leslie v. Jeremy D. Farmer, 87A01-1508-JP-1164.


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