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Changing A Child's Last Name After Divorce or Separation

A parent may want to legally change his or her child’s last name after the custodial parent goes through divorce or separation. The process of a child name change might sound simple, but can actually be very complex if both parents are not in agreement about the change of name.

People Magazine reports that the celebrity teen mother Bristol Palin from “Dancing With the Stars” is seeking to change the name of her 2-year-old son from Tripp Johnston to Tripp Palin. The 20-year-old mother who hails from Alaska recently moved to Maricopa, Arizona, so it is likely that she would be dealing with her baby’s name change and other family court proceedings in the Grand Canyon state.

Palin reportedly said on KWHL’s “The Bob & Mark Show” that she has asked her baby’s father Levi Johnston to sign over his custody rights, but claims that he has refused to do so. She also stated that she was willing to do without child support contributions if Johnston would just sign away his parental rights.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, R9-19-118 of the Arizona Administrative Code requires a court order to change the name of a child that is more than a year old. The court may approve the child’s name change even if one parent objects to the change. However, a family court judge might be reluctant to change a child’s name when one parent raises objections, especially if the parent has kept and maintained a relationship with the child.

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