Paternity Cases & Hyphenated Last Names

When two individuals decide to have a child out-of-wedlock and they decided to split, a paternity case is inevitable. A paternity case is what many attorneys call either a child custody or support case between two individuals who are not married.

In both of these cases, the court must decide what parent gets physical and legal custody of the minor child. The court need to know on what days of the week the child will be with either parent. Whereas legal custody, the court has to make a decision who gets to make the important decisions regarding how the child is raised.

The court also decides on how child support is going to work. As in, who is paying the child support to who? Also, who is going to be paying for the child's health care, education, and extracurricular costs and in what percentages? Another issue in many cases is deciding what the last name is going to be for the minor child. Does the child get the last name of the father or of the mother?

There is a general rule, however: the younger the child is, the more likely the last name will be that of the father's. This is especially true if the child hasn't started school yet. But, if the father chooses to wait to file the paternity cases until after the child has started school, or the court is not very confident that the father is going to be in the child's life, the court may find it in the best interest of the child to have the given mother's last name.

Given both circumstance, and increasing compromise between both parents in a paternity case is to hyphenate the last name. The court will take the mother and father's last name and hyphenate it together. Many courts are encouraging hyphenated last name to increase settlement in cases.

If you're an unmarried parent, we have an article that may help: Children of Unmarried Parents.

Contact a Paternity Lawyer in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia or Springfield Today

If you are going through a paternity case in Missouri, Illinois or Kansas, the attorneys at Stange Law Firm, PC can help. Contact us online or by calling us at one of our convenient locations throughout the Midwest.