The Best Interest of the Child Matters Most
And yes, Oklahoma law specifically does provide for that under the right circumstances. And the appropriate statute is title 10 section 90.4. And what it says is that at any time, after a determination of paternity, the mother, father, custodian, or guardian of the child may file a motion requesting the court to order that the surname of the child be changed to the surname of the father.
Now, if there are objections to that notice has to go to the interested parties, and if those parties object or don’t agree to sign off on an order for that name change, it’s going to be set for a hearing.
And at the hearing, the court can hear all kinds of various evidence to help the judge to decide whether it’s in the best interest of the child because that’s the standard we’re dealing with here, the best interest of the child to do the name changed to the surname of the father.
And although the statute does not provide details on how the courts determine the best interest, and therefore, the court has wide discretion, there is case law that lists about 11 factors for the court to consider.
And those have anything to do with how the name change will affect the child and the child’s relationship with each parent, how long the child has been using the current name and how disruptive it will be to change, whether the child’s other parent uses that name, whether the child has siblings that use that name or another name, and other factors that are related to that.
So, there is a procedure by which to do that name change in a paternity case. It’s triggered once paternity is determined and a party makes that request, but it is not absolute. It’s based on the best interest. So, you’re going to want to look at how the best interest of the child favors your particular way that you want the court to rule so that you can make those arguments.
If you have questions on how this may apply to you or your case, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney privately about your specific circumstances. To get that scheduled with an Oklahoma attorney at my office, you can go to makelaweasy.com.