Custody Q & A — How Can I Remove the Father’s Name from My Children’s Birth Certificates?

by Janne Berry Osborne on November 15, 2012

in Child Custody, Domestic Relations, Name Change

This is a Child Custody question that I answered on Avvo.com on 11/15/12.

“My children’s biological father has nothing to do with my kids.  I can count on one hand how many times he has paid child support.  What do I need to do to get his name removed from their birth certificates?  My kids are almost 14 and 11.  They don’t want anything to do with him.”

MY ANSWER:

In order to either change your children’s names or terminate the biological father’s rights you will need to file an action in Family Court AND have a Guardian ad Litem appointed. Unless you have remarried and your current husband is willing and able to adopt your children, I do not believe that a Guardian ad Litem would tell the Court that it was in the children’s best interests. While the report of the Guardian ad Litem is not controlling, I think it would be difficult to convince the Court to terminate the father’s rights. For one thing, to do so would “bastardize” the children — and even though we have done away with any different treatment for children whose parents were not married or whose father is not listed, the Courts are VERY reluctant to do it. In addition, even though he has done very little, if he were to win the PowerBall or MegaMillions Lottery you could seek a significant portion of the winnings for his children. Another possibly scenario is that if he were killed and there was a large wrongful death payment, your children would be eligible for a portion — but only if you had not terminated his parental rights.

Having the children’s names changed is much less difficult — but still expensive. You will also need a Guardian ad Litem who will talk to the children and determine how they feel and what their reasons are for having their name changed.

I urge you to contact an experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney and discuss these different scenarios.

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