If the parents cannot agree on the baby’s name and end up fighting in court, a judge will decide what name is best for the baby.

A judge will usually give the baby both last names. Some of the other things the judge will think about are

  • how long the baby has used the current name,
  • the baby’s relationship with each parent,
  • how the name affects the baby’s relationship with each parent, and
  • what others living in the same household call the baby.

Sometimes courts decide on the baby’s last name as part of a custody or other family-law case.

The court will agree to a name change if it’s best for the child, and

  • both parents ask for the name change,
  • one parent asks, and the other parent is told about the name change and does not object, or
  • one parent asks and the other parent has abandoned the child.
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