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November 24, 2011

Changing The Name Of A Minor Child In North Carolina Without The Consent Of Both Parents


            Under North Carolina law, it is difficult to change the name of a minor child without the consent of both natural parents.  N.C. Gen.Stat. § 101-2, which provides the court with legal authority to change the name of a minor, specifically states that “nothing herein shall be construed to permit one parent to make such application on behalf of a minor child without the consent of the other parent of such minor child if both parents be living[.]” Accordingly, if you wish to change the name of your child, you will find that the process is much easier, and your likelihood of success is far greater, if you obtain the written consent of the child’s other natural parent.

             However, if it is impractical (or perhaps impossible) to get the other parent’s consent, a name change may still be successful in certain circumstances.  A North Carolina minor name change may be accomplished with the consent of just one parent (rather than both parents) if: (a) a court has determined that the other parent has abandoned the child; (b) a child is sixteen years of age or older, and the clerk of court finds that the child was abandoned by the other parent; or (c) the identity of the other natural parent is not known (not listed on the birth certificate), and the child has never had the surname of the other parent (See, In re Dunston, 197 S.E.2d 560 (Court of Appeals, 1973)).


N.C. Gen.Stat. § 101-2

 

(d) An application to change the name of a minor child may be filed by the child's parent or parents, guardian, or guardian ad litem, and this application may be joined in the application for a change of name filed by the parent or parents. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit one parent to make an application on behalf of a minor child without the consent of the other parent if both parents are living; except that a minor who has reached the age of 16 years, upon proper application to the clerk, may change his or her name with the consent of the parent who has custody of the minor and has supported the minor, without the necessity of obtaining the consent of the other parent, when the clerk of court is satisfied that the other parent has abandoned the minor. A change of parentage or the addition of information relating to parentage on the birth certificate of any person is governed by G.S. 130A-118.

 

The consent of a parent who has abandoned a minor child is not required if a copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction adjudicating that parent's abandonment of the minor if filed with the clerk. If a court of competent jurisdiction has not declared the minor to be an abandoned child, the clerk, on 10 days' written notice by registered or certified mail, directed to the last known address of the parent alleged to have abandoned the child, may determine whether the parent has abandoned the child. If the parent denies that the parent abandoned the child, this issue of fact shall be transferred and determined as provided in G.S. 1-301.2. If abandonment is determined, the consent of the parent is not required. Upon final determination of this issue of fact the proceeding shall be transferred back to the special proceedings docket for further action by the clerk.



RECENT BLOG POSTS

11/24/2011
Changing The Name Of A Minor Child In North Carolina Without The Consent Of Both Parents