The requestor will file a petition within the local municipality or court to request the name change of their child. If you are looking to answer the question how do I change my child’s last name, you will need to begin with the formal approval of the court.
If one parent is estranged from the child, the custodial parent will typically need to provide proof that the notice was given or attempted to be given to the estranged parent. Sometimes notice cannot be given because there is no known address for the estranged parent.

In these cases, the courts generally ask that the custodial parent run an ad in the newspaper that serves as a public notice to the name change. Most jurisdictions require the custodial parent to run the ad in the newspaper anywhere from three days to three weeks. In the case of divorce, the custodial parent wishes for the child to have their last name for logistic reasons.
There are cases where the custodial parent re-marries and wishes for the child to take on the name of the custodial parent’s new spouse.

If the parent is in the process of getting a divorce or in the beginning or middle stages of adoption proceedings, the parent can usually include the name change petitions with these proceedings and do not need to be file these separately.

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