Congratulations on your impending fatherhood. That being said, I
commend you on your desire to step-up-to-the-plate and claim your
child, and give your child your surname. I wish I had good news for
you, but I don't. Unless your ex-girlfriend agrees to give the baby
your last name, you'll have to go to court. Even then, without good
cause, it won't happen. Judges don't change last names of children to
the non-custodial Father's last name just because he wants it that
To get to the point, if this is REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU --as hard as
it may seem, the easiest (and maybe ONLY) way to give your child your
last name is to MAKE UP and get back together with her. Marry her. A
divorce and custody battle would be way easier than what you are
trying to do.
Consider this, even if you are together and MARRIED, if you _both_
can't agree (!) on the last name, you'd have to go to court and let a
judge decide the child's last name!
Assuming you have unlimited funds, even money won't help you here.
From what I've read, Massachusetts is old-school and favors the
Mother. If you want this, I would beg, grovel, lie (and I seldom
suggest that), --do WHATEVER it takes to get her to take you back. You
can always leave later, AFTER the child has your name.
You're asking the Mother to give the child your last name, but she
doesn't even HAVE TO allow you to be the legal Father on the birth
certificate. She can simply say you are not the Father. Then, your
needle in a haystack chance just turned into never, not in this
Here's some reference material for you. Read this answer and then read
the linked material:
The link below should be read in entirety, but I pulled out relevant
portions of the text for you.
PATERNITY GUIDE FOR UNMARRIED PARENTS
[Massachusetts Department of Revenue - Child Support Enforcement Division]
PHONE: 1 (800) 332-2733
..."A child born to unmarried parents does not automatically have a
[ you must get your name on the birth certificate to avoid court
battle number one, the easiest way to do this is to be present at the
birth and ask to sign a Paternity Acknowledgment Form ]
..."How do I establish paternity for my child? Parents who are not
married to each other can establish paternity - legal fatherhood - for
their child only if both parents sign a paternity acknowledgment form
or if either of them asks a court to establish paternity.
Signing a Paternity Acknowledgment Form: The Easy Way to Establish
Paternity For Your Child.
Parents can establish paternity for their child by signing a form called the
VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PARENTAGE. (This is sometimes called
acknowledging paternity.) Once both parents have signed this form and
their signatures have been notarized, the man becomes the legal father
of the child and his name goes on the child's birth certificate. No
one has to go to court.
[ with your name on the birth certificate as the FATHER of the child,
battle number one is over. ]
Parents can acknowledge paternity this way in three places:
? The hospital
Parents can complete the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage
form shortly after the birth of their child, while the
mother and child are still in the hospital. The birth registrar
at the hospital can help with this. There is no fee when the
parents sign the acknowledgment in the hospital.
? City or Town Clerk's Office
If parents do not establish paternity before they leave the
hospital, they can still acknowledge paternity for their child
by completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form
and filing it at the city or town clerks office in the community
where the child was born. Both parents' signatures must
be notarized, which the city or town clerk can do. The clerk
may charge a fee for filing.
? Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
If it is not convenient to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment
of Parentage form in the community where the child
was born, the parents may complete the form at the Registry
of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS), or mail the form with
a check for $25 to RVRS.
[ keep in mind, BOTH of you must sign this, all she has to do is *say*
you are not the Father, and you are looking at a court ordered
paternity test JUST TO GET YOUR NAME LISTED AS FATHER ]
..."Will the child's birth certificate include the father's name?
The birth certificate will include the father's name if --
? the parents acknowledge paternity by signing a Voluntary
Acknowledgment of Paternity form in the hospital or later at a city or
town clerks office or at the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics,
? a judge establishes paternity in court and orders that the
father's name be included on the birth certificate.
Otherwise, the space for the father's name will be left blank on the child's
..."Will the child have the father's last name?
Generally, the mother can decide what the child's name will be. Parents
can choose their child's first and last name together when they fill out the
birth certificate and acknowledge paternity for their child in the hospital.
They will have to go to court if they later decide to change their child's name..."
In Massachusetts ..."By law, when parents are not married, the mother
has custody of their child unless a court orders otherwise. A father
who has legally established paternity can ask a court to make a
decision about custody and visitation..."
[ Note, changing the child's last name to the non-custodial Father's
is the last thing a judge will consider. In Massachusetts, you must
have physical custody of the child to file for a name change ]
..."The information provided in this booklet does not constitute legal advice
and is based on the laws of Massachusetts as of the publication date.
It is always advisable to seek legal advice from an attorney..."
In particular, this booklet focuses on answering the following questions:
? Deciding a child?s name
? Where a child?s name is recorded; How a child?s name is recorded
? Correcting birth records to reflect the child?s biological father
? Changing your name
? Changing your children?s names
? If the other parent objects to changing the child?s names
? Some other Name-Related Issues
..."Deciding a child?s name:
Parents [ note they mean married here ] can name their child any name that they
choose. The city or town clerk where the child was born records the child?s name
as instructed by the parents. The parents may give the child any first name and
any last name that they wish. The child?s last name may be the father?s last name,
the mother?s last name, a hyphenated version of both names, or any other
name. However, if married parents disagree upon what name to use, they
may have to go to court to resolve the dispute, and the child may end up
with one parent?s surname or a hyphenated version..."
..."How a child?s name is recorded:
The mother?s name is always recorded on the birth certificate. Whether the
father?s name is also recorded depends on the situation:
If the mother is UNMARRIED, the father?s name is not recorded on
the birth certificate UNLESS BOTH the mother and father request by
affidavit that his name be recorded as the father of the child..."
..."Paternity can be established when the biological father acknowledges
paternity, i.e. admitting that they are the biological father
of the child..."
..."Changing your children?s names:
You must have custody of your children if you want to file a name change
on their behalf..."
..."If the other parent objects to changing the children?s names:
The court will decide based on what it believes to be in the children?s
best interest.....Some courts look at the parent?s relationship with the
children, whether the parent pays child support on a regular basis, and
the harm caused to their relationship if the name is changed. BE PREPARED
to provide the court with valid reasons why it would be better for the
children?s name to change. The court will not grant the name change
simply because the parents do not get along or because one parent has
remarried or changed their name..."
RELEVANT MASSACHUSETTS LAW
GENERAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS
CHAPTER 46. RETURN AND REGISTRY OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS
Chapter 46: Section 3D. Acknowledgments and adjudications of
paternity; records available to IV-D agency
If I can clarify anything for you, please give me a chance to assist
you further before rating my answer, and please don't shoot the
messenger with a poor rating simply because the answer is not in your
favor, I did after all, answer your question where many others would
have skipped it after finding the facts.
So sorry it's not good news... The world needs more guys like you. I
wish you the best of luck.
Search terms used at Google:
Massachusetts father "last name" OR surname child