Last name dilemma

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2011
Last name dilemma
9
Wed, 12-07-2011 - 2:47pm
Hello, new here. I am hoping to get some feedback and thoughts on my last name dilemma. I am expecting baby number 2 early next year. My first daughter is almost 5, and her dad and I are divorced. I kept my married name, which my daughter also has (let's say it's Jones). I debated going back to my maiden name after the divorce, but it was important to me that my daughter and I have the same last name, so I am still Jones. I am now having a baby with someone I am no longer dating. We are on cordial terms, and he wants to be involved with the baby, however, he lives in another state and probably will only see her once or twice a month. No formal custody arrangements will be made. He is VERY insistent that she have his last name. I am vey insistent that she have mine, and I don't like the idea of a hyphenated last name due to the complicated nature of it. I understand his issue that my last name is my ex-husbands last name, and he doesn't want our daughter to have my ex's last name. However that last name is my legal official name, so I think of it as MY name, not my ex's. Dad of the new baby will not be nearly as involved in her life, both in parenting time and financially (I will not be filing for child support because he cannot afford the full amount the state would impose). So I will have full custody, doing 90% of the parenting on my own, no guarantees from him how long he may be a part of her life, and I feel strongly that the child have the last name of the household she will be raised in. I have even considering changing my legal last name to hyphenate my married and maiden names, so my first daughter will have my married name and my second daughter have my maiden name. But that seems awfully complicated too. I want to compromise, but it seems like the best solution for my new baby's benefit is to have the last name of the parent primarily raising her, regardless of the fact that its my married name. I welcome any thoughts.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2011
Wed, 12-07-2011 - 2:51pm
I'm so sorry, I put paragraph breaks in, but they are not showing up in my post :(
Avatar for dr_kae
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-07-2011 - 7:43pm

For ease of paperwork and since you'll be doing more than the lion's share of the parenting, I'd say give the baby the last name YOU use.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2011
Thu, 12-08-2011 - 5:24pm
Thanks, I think the middle name is the best compromise in the situation. I keep wanting to think of the best way to give her a "normal" name rather than being stuck in between 2 parents arguing over naming rights :( If we can't agree, I'm the one with the final decision. I want to cooperate, but I just don't agree with giving her the name of the least involved parent just because he wants to pass along his name. That reason is all about him, not about the child.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2009
Sun, 12-11-2011 - 9:35pm
I chose to give my son my last name in a similar situation. This was 24 years ago, and I don't regret it. He loves that he has my maiden name, and the name that belongs to his grandparents. If you feel that is the name you want your child to have, then that is the name I would give that child.


~April, Mom to son Jory, 23 and boy/girl twins, Alex and Haley, 11






iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2005
Tue, 12-13-2011 - 7:41pm
I'm going to be harsh, because I've been in a similar situation. If he is not there to do at least half the parenting AND paying child support through the state, he doesn't get any naming rights. If he has left the state and will barely be a part of the baby's life, this is YOUR baby and YOUR choice. You don't have to compromise or be nice about it. If later on, he chooses to be a more than occasional dad, then you can always have the baby's name changed. It is YOUR name, no matter how you got it. If he wanted the baby to have his name, he should have stuck around and married you. :)
sig2-sm

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2011
Thu, 12-15-2011 - 7:34am
Thanks so much for the additional feedback. It's funny, him insisting on his last name is not being difficult, but me insisting on mine is difficult and stubborn. Go figure. I'm glad to get support on this issue because I just don't agree with children automatically named after the father 'just because'. I need to hear the 'because' reason for the child's benefit, not the parents.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2005
Thu, 12-15-2011 - 7:41am
Here in North Dakota, the child automatically gets the mother's last name if she is unmarried. In order to get the father's last name, he has to sign acknowledgment of paternity [which also gets sent for child supoort] and request the name change. Both parents have to agree and sign. Will he even be present for the birth? Maybe tell him that when the baby is older, if it wants to take his last name, it can be changed, he would have to prove that his last name is EARNED and not just given. I totally agree with you. Ultimately, it's your choice and you're sure of what you want. You can compromise all kinds of things and lose out in the end. Stick to what you believe is to be the best thing for the child, that is your job as a mother. If he's stepping back from being a father for whatever reasons, that's not in the best interest and his last name is such a menial part of raising a child.
sig2-sm

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2011
Thu, 12-15-2011 - 9:34am
He will be present for the birth, and I'll give him credit because he does want to be involved in her life. But he lives too far away to be very involved, and he complains about money and says he'll "do what he can" to support her financially. He won't get any more specific than that. I am afraid that he'll make a fuss in the delivery room about the name because the final decision will be made then when I sign the birth certificate. I'm going to have to be firm that I want NO negativity in the hospital. I'm already getting enough grief and stress about stuff now, and I'd really like to relax and enjoy the last few months of my pregnancy.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Thu, 12-22-2011 - 2:58pm

hello!! i have a friend who has a son that carries his mothers maiden name and not his fathers. the couple is married and together-they have another child besides the son-but he still carries his moms maiden name. i think its because her father had no girls so the name would have died with him and now it lives on...but my sister in law has 3 kids by 1 husband and 1 by her 2nd hubby-and her youngest carries his fathers name, even though she never legally changed her name...i guess its whatever you want to do-and if you want to give the baby your last name and he doesnt like it-too bad. the same sil told me that i get to put whatever i want on the birth certificate and that my hubby will have to deal with it. (this is when i wanted to name my youngest dd jocelyn and he didnt like that name!)shes got a point-in the end, its up to the one filling out the birth certificate-you.
JOANNE