Following Divorce, Judge Denies a Child's Change of Surname
Child-custody disputes are as fleeting as youth, but surnames last a lifetime. That reality was front and center as an appeals court denied a divorced mother's attempt to strip her offspring of their father's name. The court, in Emma v. Evans, A-2303-10, said a Burlington County judge erred in applying a presumption — arising in cases of children born out of wedlock — that a primary custodian has the upper hand on naming decisions. Here, the parties had joint legal custody, agreeing to share "authority and responsibility for making major decisions regarding the welfare of the children," and "neither possessed a superior right in such an important matter," the Appellate Division held on Jan. 20.
BEST INTERESTS OF CHILDREN OF DIVORCE GOVERN DECISIONS ON CHANGE OF NAME
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