You can ask the court to change a child’s name if you are the child's:
- Biological or adoptive parent
- Legal guardian
- Next friend (someone who represents a child if he or she doesn't have a legal guardian and has a disability or is unable to maintain a lawsuit)
A name change isn't an adoption and doesn't change who the child's legal parents are. Changing your child’s name to your spouse’s or domestic partner’s name will legally change your child’s name, but it will not legally make your spouse or domestic partner your child’s parent. For example, if your child is from a previous relationship and you change your child’s last name to your current spouse’s name, your spouse will not be your child’s legal parent. The only way to do this is through an adoption.
To learn more about adoption, go to the Adoption and Foster Care page.