QUESTION: I am a single mother of a 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. Their father has been in jail for 5 years now. He will be serving 16 years for sexual abuse of a minor. Can I get full custody of my kids and get their last name changed?
ATTORNEY CASTILLO’S ADVICE: In order to get full custody of your children you must file a Complaint in the Probate and Family Court in your county. You should emphasize that the children’s father has a conviction for sexual abuse and received a 16 year sentence. Before a Court allows you to change your children’s names, you must either get the father’s consent or file a Complaint to change your children’s name. If notifying the other parent will put the children’s safety at risk, you may petition the court for permission to publish only the children’s current name and to withhold publication of the new name. The court will decide based on the best interest of the children.
Other factors the court considers are the relationship the father has with the children, whether the father pays child support on a regular basis, and the harm caused to their relationship if the name is changed.
Please note that laws vary from state to state; therefore, I advise you to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney in your area.
Erika Castillo, Esq.
Castillo Law Offices
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