Oklahoma courts typically rule that children should keep their father’s last name after a divorce, so long as the father maintained positive involvement in the children’s lives. Nevertheless, your child’s surname can be changed by a petition to the court after a Tulsa divorce, if a judge finds it to be in the child’s best interest.
Oklahoma courts, however, will consider a number of different factors to determine if the name change is in the child’s best interest. Among the factors to be considered are:
How long the child has used the surname.
The relationship between the child and the parent requesting the name change.
Whether or not the child needs to identify with a new family due to a remarriage or adoption.
The Tulsa divorce court will weigh these factors against the relationship the child has with the parent whose surname he (or she) currently shares. For example, you may be able to change your child’s last name if the biological father (or mother) has terminated his (or her) parental rights; or if he (or she) shows no interest in maintaining a relationship with the child, has been abusive to the child, and/or has demonstrated criminal behavior.
Ultimately, the court has to consider it to be in the best interest of the child to grant a request for a surname change. In most cases, you will not be allowed to change your child’s surname after a divorce in Tulsa, unless there is a very good reason. Additionally, it is important to note that a name change will not affect any of the obligations either parent has in terms of child support, child custody, visitation, or alimony; nor will it affect the child’s inheritance rights.
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