Changing Your Children’s Names After a Virginia Divorce

Posted on Oct 5, 2010 by Hofheimer Family Law

Many women choose to change their names after a Virginia divorce. Perhaps it is the opportunity for a fresh start, or it could be as a way to get distance from their ex-husbands. Whatever the reason, it is very common for women to choose to return to their maiden name after a Virginia divorce.

This may make you wonder just what you are to do if you have children. Are you legally able to change your children’s last names, too? Historically, children automatically retained their father’s last names after a divorce. Nowadays, you can now petition the court for a name change for your children.

In Virginia, for a child’s name change request to be granted, you must prove to a judge that a post-divorce name change is in the child’s best interests.

A judge will take several factors into consideration including:

  • the age of the child;
  • the relationship the child has with each parent;
  • the time the child has had his or her father’s last name; and
  • the need to identify with a new family (in the case of remarriage).

If you are successful in petitioning for a post-divorce name change for your children, keep in mind that this does not change the relationship that the children have with their father. Any Virginia child custody or visitation rights that their father has will remain the same after a post-divorce name change unless the court rules otherwise.

If you are interested in changing your own name after a Virginia divorce, or that of your children’s, you’ll want to work closely with a Virginia divorce attorney who can guide you through the process.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

At this vulnerable time, it’s critical that you have exceptional legal representation that not only understands the specifics of your case, but is dedicated to your best interests and that of your family.

The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm represent Virginia women who wish to file for divorce. We are committed to fighting for your rights, assisting in child custody disputes, and advocating that you receive everything you need in order to start your new life. You can learn more by requesting a complimentary copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserving your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.