child name change in Texas

Child name changes in Texas are governed by Chapter 45 of the Texas Family Code.  Requests to change the name can be filed by the parent, someone named as the managing conservator, or by a guardian appointed for the child in the county in which the child resides.  Any request to change the legal name for a child must include, among other things (see Section 45.002):

  • where the child resides (to establish that it is filed in the right county);
  • the child’s present name;
  • the requested name; and
  • the reason for the child name change.

If the child is over ten years old, the request must contain the child’s written consent to a change of their name.

The Family Code does not specify what sufficient reason are for the legal name change of a child.  As with other cases involving children, the court ultimately decides what it believes is in the best interest of the child and rules accordingly.

Section 45.003 lists parties who are entitled to notice via a “citation”.  This means that these are the parties who have to be served with papers requesting a child name change.  This is a lawsuit like any other lawsuit and requires that all interested parties, listed below, be notified of the proceedings:

  • a parent of the child whose parental rights have not been terminated;
  • any managing conservator of the child; and
  • any guardian of the child.

Some common scenarios which arise in a legal name change for children are as follows:

  • Mother wants to change the name of the child to the name of her new husband.  Ex-husband does not agree.  First of all mother must serve ex-husband with papers requesting the name change.  If ex-husband does not file paperwork letting the court know that he disagrees with the name change, after being served, then mother may get her wish.  However, if ex-husband files a response to the lawsuit, mother must set the case for trial and prove that it is in the best interest of the child to change their name.  This will be tough to prove in most instances.
  • Mother wants to change name of the child to her last name or her husband’s last name.  She was never married to the father of the child and has no idea where he is.  Father has not had contact with the child in years.  Mother must still serve the father with notice of the lawsuit.  For every child out there there is a biological father, and they must get notice.  If you absolutely cannot find the father, there are alternative ways to serve them, but you still must serve them.

If the biological father agrees to the name change, in most instances you will not have a problem.  The above scenarios are for situations where the father does not agree.

Another way that a person can change the name of a child is through an adoption where their parental rights are terminated.  When rights are terminated, there is no biological parent remaining in that position so that when a new parent steps in (through the adoption) the child can assume their name.

Finally, in a situation where a father is establishing his parental rights through a paternity action, the courts will typically give the child the last name of the father or a hyphenated version of the mother and father’s last name with the father’s being last.

I hope that I have not confused you more than I have helped.  As always, comment if you have any general questions.  Thank you for reading.

80 Responses to child name change in Texas

  1. DON May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm #



  2. Chris Schmiedeke June 1, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    File a lawsuit to change the name of the child.

  3. Tonya July 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I want to change my son’s last name to mine. When he was born, I put him in my fiancee’s name, but he was not present to sign the birth certificate. Since then (almost 5 yrs ago) he still has not made any attempt to accept paternity. Can I change my son’s name or will I need this man’s consent?

  4. michelle bulloch July 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    my ex husband is in prision he has had no contact to my kids for over 10 years.i am remarried and my husband wants to change my kids name to his last to i go about doing ex husband after he is released from prision he is getting deported back to mexico he is not legal kids r 13,13,and can i go about changing there last name without problems . michelle

  5. Casey brandes October 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    My sons father and I were unmarried. He cheated on me when I was pregnant thus out relationship ended. Didn’t hear much from him through pregnancy until it got closer to my due date. When I went into labor, I did not let the father know. Instead I called him when we got home from hospital to let him know. Since my son was born his father has had very little contact in person or calling to see about my son. Now my son is 2 and we are going through court for child support and visitation. He is wantin to change my sons last name to his. Currently my son has my last name… Will a judge grant this? Any tips for me on proving it is in the best interest of my son to keep my (mother) last name?

  6. Ricardo Conde January 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m trying to find out what steps I need to take in getting my kids last names changed from their mother’s last name to my last name? Both my kids are in their early teens. Their mother will not agree to having their names changed to mine. What should I do at this point? Any feedback is appreciated.

  7. karla frazier June 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    i had a daughter and my tubes tied in the same night so i was medicated and all i know is she has her fathers first name as her own . i have tried to get it changed thru austin but they wont help now she is going on 4 yrs old and i want to get her first name changed before she starts school . help please . what do i need to do . plus it makes me mad cuase i payed the fee to change to austin to .

  8. Stefany July 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    I wanna get my sons last name to mines. The guy I though it was his dad is not but am I going to need any info about his real dad.

  9. Amedrano January 29, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    How would I change my sons last name to my married name if its not his biological father but has provided for him since he was a baby & it’s the only dad he knws?
    His father has never been in the picture since he has been born I have no idea where he is & he doesn’t even knw about my son since he has left a long time ago.

  10. Jonathan F July 2, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I’m a stepfather, my wife and I would like to add my last name to my stepson name letting him keep he’s father’s name and adding mine. He hasn’t had contact with he’s father in a few yrs now and I would just like him to have the same rights the rest of my kids have in anything I may leave behind. Is that possible?

  11. Suzanna November 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    I would like to add my grandpa last name to my name and to birth certificate. How do I go by doing that ? I am over 21 yrs old . I live in Georgia,Griffin.

  12. Amina April 27, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    My sons Biological father and we were never married and is not on the birth certificate . And my ex husband named him and gave him his last name .. what rights do I have as a mother to change the whole name …

  13. Joe June 2, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    My daughter has a hyphenated last name I pay my child support on a regular an my other kids have my last name can I change or remove the hyphen.. since my last name isn’t hyphenated

  14. Jaclyn June 6, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    If my son’s father and I were never married. I an now married with 2 children with my husband. My son wants so badly for our last names to be the same as me and his siblings. I was hoping to maybe meet in the middle and hyphenate his fathers last name with mine so he would have both. I know his father will not want to agree, so what can I do? and is it possible that I could have it changed by the judge if its a compromise of both names like I want?

  15. Chris Schmiedeke June 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    If you do not have the father’s agreement, then you would have to ask the court to modify the name. In my experience, courts are hesitant to change the child’s name if the father is involved in the child’s life, however it may be different where you are. Contact a local attorney and discuss with them.

  16. Chris Schmiedeke June 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    If the other party agrees to it, or the Court orders it.

  17. April Soto October 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    When my son was born the hospital had his birth certificate as”Boy” and my last name. when the birth certificate document was created he was given a first, middle and same last name. At the time we got his birth certificate the clerk was unable to remove from the temp birth certificate Boy. So she temporarily change the spelling to Ray and made it the middle name. Said would have to correct it through a judge. They contacted the biological father to ask consent to a name change and he waive the right to have his name included or to be included in any future decision. Since 2yrs old due to illness he’s been living with a relative. My son has always been in school registered with the full correct first and middle and last name he’s known it as his name his whole life. He is now 17 and would like to get a part-time job and a legal ID and his original birth certificate still shows Ray. Not Exavier. How would I request that he have a name change when it was a clerical error and his original birth certificate application has the correct name and all custody court orders have his correct name and his school records has his correct name just his birth certificate and Social Security do not.? Will I still need a judge’s consent or would I just need to file at the clerk’s office a name change.?

  18. Melissa October 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    So how was my ex husband able to change our son’s last name without my permission?

  19. Chris Schmiedeke October 17, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    You would need to check with the Court that ordered it. My guess is that he tried to provide notice somehow and was unable to. The court may have accepted that you were “served”. Talk to an attorney in the area where the order was entered and see if they can determine what happened.

  20. Maria December 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    I have a child who is 4yrs old the biological father and I were dating at the time when I got pregnant but than I left him. He was there when he was born to see him and we added his name to the birth certificate. He hasn’t seen him since. So it’s been 4yrs and my husband wants to adopt him but the only issue I have is I don’t know where the biological father lives or Have any information about him since we had a really bad relationship. He has claimed him for 3 yrs during income tax season since when I tried they said someone had already claimed him. My question is would it be easy to terminate his rights without him or would I have to figure out how to find him.

  21. ADRIANELIZABETH February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am #

    My daughter is 11 and her Father is not really in the picture. He sees her maybe 1-2 X in a year and literally lives 10 minutes away. My fiance has raised her as his own for the past few years. We get married later this year and she wants his last name since that’s her true father figure. What should I do? What if she just gets his name hyphenated with her biological Fathers last name? Would it be an easier process?

  22. Ann April 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm #

    I recently got remarried, but the subject of changing my sons last came after my son told me he was sexually abused by his biological father and brother, to which I have filed and pressed charges. Are these reason alone to get his last name changed without his biological fathers consent?

  23. Rose April 22, 2018 at 9:19 am #

    Real father of my son is in prison and has been off and on his entire life. Has not seen or had any contact with my son since he was 2, he is almost 9 now. I am the only parent listed on the birth certificate and he has MY last name. I am married now and we have 2 other children. My son wants to be adopted when I reached out to his real father he refused to offer up rights and we don’t have the funds to proceed with such expensive court and laeyer expenses yet. We were thinking of just pursuing changing his last name to my husband’s name (my new last name). Can we do this without the adoption? Of real dad says no from prison, do we still have a chance since real dad has never been in his life and my son doesn’t even have his last name anyway?

  24. Michelle September 10, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    If I have sole managing conservatorship, do I have the right to change my child’s name without the other parent’s consent?

  25. Chris Schmiedeke February 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm #


  26. Danielle December 26, 2019 at 4:52 am #

    My ex wife cheated on me and had a baby. So because the baby father never came to sign the birth certificate they gave him my last name which was hers at that time. Can I get his name changed to his fathers name or at least to her maiden name? (Texas)

  27. Chris Schmiedeke February 25, 2020 at 9:10 am #

    That is a tough one, would need a lot more facts about the current situation. Your best bet is to contact an attorney to discuss your options.

  28. Kyle W. October 14, 2020 at 12:09 am #

    My half sister was supposedly adopted by my dad when my parents were married . They have been divorced for over 18 years now and my dad has just recently passed away. My half sister (my mother’s daughter) does have mine and my fathers last name. But my question is should her new amended birth certificate if she were adopted say the county she was born in or the county she lived in at the time of the supposed adoption? I had requested the adoption records from limestone county district clerks office and the District judges court coordinator involved herself in the fiasco and actually let me view the some paperwork that had started the process in 1987 But several handwritten notes from 1987 in the documents laid out in front of me to view said the client still owed court costs . Well when I received certified copies of the adoption records those handwritten notes were nowhere to be found. And to add to the list I requested my sisters birth certificate just 6 months earlier in the same courthouse they said they didn’t have it. Finally after 7 months of asking is when I get incomplete adoption records with missing papers and guess what , they also have the birth certificate on file. But the birth certificate I received on her doesn’t look anything like my birth certificate.
    Thanks, Kyle from texas

  29. Stephane November 27, 2020 at 6:18 am #

    My wife’s former husband passed away when their son was 2. We met and married later on. Her son is now 18 and I would like to adopt him. Doing so, I would like him to keep his last name to keep his ties with his grand-parents and aunts while simply add mine. Is it authorized by Texas Law? could you point out to a specific article in the family code?

  30. Chris Schmiedeke November 30, 2020 at 1:41 pm #

    Yes, you can adopt an adult. You will probably need an attorney to help you.

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