The New Jersey courts have recognized that a child’s name indeed has great significance not only to the child but also to the parents that chose it at their birth. Because of this, the State’s highest court advises that parents have an equal say not only in the naming of their child but more importantly, in preserving that name for their child. No longer do the courts allow the primary custodial parent free reign to change a child’s name as they deem fit. The courts are advised that the best interests of the child must be examined and no longer is the custodial parent’s wishes automatically considered what is best.
The person who wants to change the name of the child bears the burden of showing it is what’s best for the child. Some of the factors the courts are looking at are the length of time the name has been used; the anxiety, embarrassment or discomfort resulting from the child having a name different than the custodial parent; and whether there is familial or ethnic importance to the name.
If you are considering such an application, consult a Family Law practitioner who can assist you in analyzing these issues and can address the court’s concerns in a comprehensive way. Posted by Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.