When there is a finding of paternity, a child’s father may move to change the child’s name. Under Texas family law and the state constitution, both parents are treated equally, however, so a child’s surname will not be changed to that of the father based solely on tradition. The court may only change the child’s name based on “good cause shown” and the best interest of the child. Some courts consider a showing of the child’s best interest to be sufficient to establish good cause, but other courts require the requesting party to establish both.
In a recent case, the parents agreed on all issues except the child’s name. According to the court’s opinion, the mother told the father she was pregnant while they were dating. She broke up with him after he asked her to consider an abortion. She then got back together with an ex-boyfriend. She gave the child the boyfriend’s first and last names, but called him by his middle name. The mother told the father he was actually the child’s father after she broke up with the boyfriend.
The father filed a petition to establish paternity, appoint him managing conservator, and change the child’s name. The mother asked to be the sole managing conservator and receive child support.