What happens if we can’t agree on a last name for the baby?

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Unmarried Couples on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Unmarried couples who have children often have to face issues unique to their situation, and one of those includes what their child’s name will be. In many cases, couples may have little to no trouble agreeing upon a name, but when there is a problem, it’s important to understand how the state of Florida handles these types of issues.

How a child’s name appears on the birth certificate is outlined in Florida statute ยง382.013. In the case of an unmarried couple, whoever has custody of the child will be responsible for selecting the child’s first and last name. This means that an unwed mother who has custody of the child may elect to give the child her last name or put the father’s last name on the birth certificate.

One exception to this is if the child’s paternity has been determined by the Florida courts, the father’s name and the child’s last name shown on the birth certificate will be “in accordance with the finding and order of the court.” If the paternity has been established by the courts but there is no specific last name determined, the child’s surname on the birth certificate with be both the mother’s and father’s last names hyphenated.

While disputes over a child’s last name are generally cleared up by establishing paternity and then following the guidelines set forth in the statutes, disagreements over the child’s first name can be more problematic. In some cases, these disputes will need to go all the way to the courts, and a Florida family law attorney can offer more information on what to do when this happens.

Source: The Florida Bar Journal, “Determining the Best Interest of the Child: The Resolution of Name Disputes in Paternity Actions,” William D. Palmer, accessed June 09, 2015