Hyphenating stepson's last name. Advice?
August 12, 2009 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Looking to do a name change (hyphenate) for my stepson. His biological father is fine with it. Just looking into protocols, possible issues later, best processes. More inside.

My stepson is now a first-grader; we've been together since he was two. His mom, my wife, is a teacher at his school and has my last name (call me "Miller"). Unofficially, my step-son has used my last name for a while, especially since the birth of his baby brother. His father knows this and is totally fine with it. We have decided to officially change his name to a hyphenate of his father's (call him "Jones") and mine (thus, Jones-Miller). Again, let me stress that his father is completely supportive of the change and of this format.

So, the question is, how is the best way to go about this? We live in Kentucky and are aware that there will be some kind of cost. Is there anything that we should be aware of in terms of other things that we would need to change that might not be obvious at first? Many thanks.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (2 answers total)
I recently changed my daughter's last name. It probably varies from state to state, but here in Washington it took a trip to the courthouse by me, my husband (her father), and my daughter. The judge signed the paper in the middle of another case without talking to us, so that was simple. Changing her Social Security card took a boring, long trip to the local Social Security office. We had to pay (by check) at both places, but I forget how much each was -- nothing too outrageous.

In both those visits we had the paperwork already filled out, smiled nicely, and treated the people behind the desks well, which I think made things go much smoother.

She's only in preschool, so we haven't had to change many records. The only difficult part has been changing her health insurance card, which can be done only during the annual open enrollment period at my husband's work. So, for now, everything in her life is under one name except for her health insurance and medical records.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:57 PM on August 12, 2009

I have no idea about the legalities of Kentucky (here in Australia I believe you can change your name for a couple of hundred bucks, quite easily), but to make life easier for your stepson in the future, make sure you complete the process to the full extent.

Some 30-odd years ago, my mother began using my then-stepfathers surname as mine. It was never legally changed, and I'm still using it (although the stepfather was replaced decades ago).

But now I'd like a dollar for every time I've had to submit a statutory declaration explaining why my birth certificate name is different to my drivers licence name. Official documents and dealing with government departments can be twice as much trouble, as I always had to explain and/or prove why my name is different on different records. And getting my first passport was an absolute nightmare.

It has been a lot of hassle for me over the years, so make sure it is done legally, to the letter, to save your stepson a lot of trouble.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:22 PM on August 12, 2009

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