Whether you’re a biological or stepparent, there is a chance that your last name does not match the last name your children have. For instance, if you are a woman and gave birth out of wedlock, you may have given your children their father’s last name.
Since your name doesn’t match, you could receive questions about if you’re their mother. You might run into problems during school pick-up times or when you’re dealing with other situations where people are trying to match your children’s last names to your own.
Of course, many people don’t share the same last name and yet are related and living happily that way.
Do you need to share your last name with your children?
For identification purposes, it may be easier if you share your last name with your kids, but there is no legal requirement to do so. If you’re worried about running into an issue, it may be a good idea to keep other identifying documents, like copies of your children’s birth certificates, on hand.
If there are other scenarios that may give you trouble, like the school pick-up line, consider talking to the principal and office to make sure they know that you don’t share the same last name with your children. Many facilities want to have a high security level, but those may harm those with different last names within the same family. For that reason, having a discussion in advance is a good idea.
Can you change your last name or your children’s last name?
You can do either. You may need the other parent’s permission to change your children’s last names, but you can change your own at any time. You will need to go to the Clerk or Court and go through the name-change process legally. A court date is typically required, and you will need to make sure you update all your legal documents to reflect the change.
In review, you don’t need to have the same last name as your children. However, if you want to, you may be able to change theirs or your own to match.