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Q: baby's last name ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: baby's last name
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: floydflora85-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 25 Nov 2006 14:46 PST
Expires: 25 Dec 2006 14:46 PST
Question ID: 785549
I moved to Washington state to move in with my boyfriend who is
stationed in the Army here. When we found out I was pregnant he
abandoned us and returned to live on post. I've had no contact with
him since. I will be moving back to California where we are both from
soon to give birth in Fontana, California. He will be in Iraq by the
time I give birth. My question is can I list him as the father so the
baby can have his last name even if he is not around?
Subject: Re: baby's last name
Answered By: mvguy-ga on 26 Nov 2006 00:24 PST
Congratulations, and thank you for using Google Answers to find out
what you need to know.

First of all, the common disclaimer: I am not an attorney, although I
have studied law and am familiar with the legal process. And even if I
were an attorney, I could not give you legal advice here. I can only
give you information under the terms of service for Google Answers;
for legal advice, you would need to contact an attorney.

Although you may not realize it, you have actually asked two question
here that have separate answers:

1. Can I get the father listed as the father on the birth certificate?

2. Can I give the baby the father's last name?

The answers to those questions are "not yet" and "yes."

First of all, I'll discuss the issue of having the father listed as
the father on the birth certificate.

Under California law, since you aren't married, you can have the
father listed on the birth certificate in one of three ways:

1) The mother and father can sign a declaration of paternity (a legal
form available through certain state offices or the hospital) while at
the hospital.

2) The mother and father can sign a declaration of paternity at a
later date and have the birth certificate amended to include the
father's name.

3) If one of the parents won't agree to sign a declaration of
paternity, either parent can initiate court action to have the father
listed, in which case a paternity test or other evidence might be

Since your baby's father won't be available, obviously the first
choice isn't an option. If he's willing to sign the declaration, he
can do it upon his return from Iraq or grant a limited power of
attorney before then to have it signed on his behalf. If he's not
willing, then you would need to initiate a court action to have him
named as the father.

You can see a sample declaration of paternity here:

Declaration of Paternity -- CS 909

You can find a summary of the California law here:
California Department of Child Support Services

A similar summary also appears on these pages:

Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa

County of Orange Health Care Agency -- Birth & Death Certificates

Obviously, signing the declaration would be the simpler approach to
take. It is very simple and doesn't require an attorney (although the
signing must be officially witnessed). This declaration not only would
put the father on the birth certificate, it would also be conclusive
evidence of fatherhood in the event of any dispute involving child
custody or support.

The second matter you want to know about is the name of the baby.

The basic answer is that you can name the child whatever you want.
Giving the child the father's last name is a matter of custom, not
law. You can legally give the child your name, the father's name, a
hyphenated name or even my name if you wish (although Mvguy-ga would
be a strange name for a kid). The baby's name is an entirely parental
prerogative. Since you're the only parent who will be listed on the
birth certificate, the decision is entirely yours.

You can see some more information about that here:

Nolo: Parenting Issues for Unmarried Couples FAQ

Although that article doesn't specifically mention California law, a
thorough search through the California statutes indicates that
California places no restrictions on what you can name a child:


You can find out more about this particular issue on a similar
question that was raised on Google Answers:

Paternity - law

CAUTION: In general, as Nolo indicates, you can name a child basically
anything you want. However, I would strongly suggest that if you are
going to give your child the father's last name that you seek his
blessing before you do so.  You're not allowed to select a child's
name for fraudulent reasons, and you don't want to be put in the
position where the father is claiming the child isn't is and that
you're defaming him by claiming he's the father or anything like that.
If you can't get the father's blessing, I would suggest you consult
with an attorney -- not because you'd be breaking the law by giving
the child his name, but because you'd be raising issues of paternity
that have legal repercussions.

And unless you and the father see eye to eye on issues such as custody
and child support (and maybe even if you do), you should contact an
attorney in any case. The sooner you handle the legal aspects of
parenthood, the better off both you and your baby will be.

I hope you find this information useful as you prepare to give birth.
I wish the very best for you and the new life you're bringing into the


Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: nelson-ga on 26 Nov 2006 01:40 PST
Sure he's the father?  Could be one of the many other men you've "slept" with.
Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: barneca-ga on 26 Nov 2006 12:55 PST
not cool, nelson.  i'm pretty confident floydflora85 has nothing to do
with the many problems you're currently experiencing in your life.
Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: steph53-ga on 26 Nov 2006 14:50 PST

I read your " other" question and I'm surprised, after seeing you here
for a number of years, your sudden change in "behavior".

You seem to be angry at the world these days.

Whatever it is that is bothering you in your personal life, please
don't attack people here.

My 2 cents,

Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: nelson-ga on 26 Nov 2006 15:52 PST
Steph, surely you've seen me be rude to questioners before?
Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: steph53-ga on 27 Nov 2006 08:20 PST
Nope, Nelson,

I've not seen you this rude to questioners before. Keep in mind the
young lady is pregnant. Hormones run amuck for us females in this
conditon ( I'm not preggers right now - too old ).

Have a great day.

Subject: Re: baby's last name
From: keystroke-ga on 27 Nov 2006 21:29 PST
I don't understand why you'd want the baby to have his last name in
the first place.  The dad isn't exactly the best role model for the
kid so far.

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