Single Parents

Should a child have their father's last name if you aren't married?

I am 26 weeks pregnant and I have been going back and forth about whether my baby should have my last name or her fathers.

Here is the story: We lived together for a year, but when I found out I was pregnant, I moved out and back to Texas with my parents. He is happy to be a father and we are in a relationship. Currently he provides full financial support for the both of us. He still lives in another state, but he plans on being back in TX for the birth. He also says he will stay here after that, but he keeps bringing up leaving again to go contract and make money for "us." Money is not the issue.

I do not want to seem disrespectful by not giving the baby his last name, but we are not married, marriage is not in the near future, who knows when and if we will be living together again, and when he will go out of state again-or even what he will be like as a parent. If I am the parent that is going to be with the child 24/7 no matter what, I think the baby should have my last name to make things easier. I will be the one taking her to the doctor, filling out all her paper work, possibly having to fly her to see her father, etc. I do not want to go through the hassle of proving I am the mother when I am the one who is raising her and dealing with everything. 

 

What do you think? What has your personal experience been? 

Re: Should a child have their father's last name if you aren't married?

  • I hyphenated and regret it. I would give her my name if I were to go back and do it again. It's such a p.I.t.a., especially when they call and address me as Mrs. W. Plus, there is no need to saddle a child with the name of someone who may or may not be involved. You can always change it going forward if things work out.
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  • I cannot believe in this day and age children are still given the father's last name.  I do not and can not understand this tradition. 

     

    Hyphenate names are beautiful; they reflect diverse heritages and link all families to the child.

    My children have hyphenated names.  They are the only ones of their exact name pairing in the world!  Both their father and I love them very much, and each of us wanted to "claim"  them by name.

    And just to make me even funkier, we are happily married, and were when the first baby was born!  Course we each of different last names, but our kids, their friends, and teachers are clever enough to have it all figured out! 

  • Sounds to me like you know what you want to do but are affraid that he will not stick around or be ok with that choice.

    My son's father told me he would not be able to bond with him if they did not have the same last name. I made my choice, my daughter, myself and my son all would have the same last name.

    Turns out he is a true DB and never has formed a bond with him anyways, he is a man of a million excuses.

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  • I'd give him your last name. When and if you and him get married, you can change your child's name then, just like you would change your name. If (God forbid) things aren't to work out, you wouldn't have to go through that hassle.

    My dad adopted me when he and my mom got married when I was 4 years old. My last name was changed to the same as his, and we grew up as a same-last-name family.

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  • Thanks for all of the input. I thought about hyphenating, but the last name would be way too long.

    I also thought about my name being one of the middle names and then having the father's name as the last name...  My mother had my older brother out of wedlock and chose to give him her name. My parents married a year later and they just added on my father's last name as his new last name and to keep it all the same, she also put her maiden name as one of mine and my younger brothers middle names. Then she hyphenated her name, but that too is too long of a name.

     I am pretty set on giving the baby my last name, but I do feel bad. I was wondering if I was wrong for it and wanted to hear other's opinions. My boyfriend said that it hurts his feelings and makes him think I don't want a future with him blah, blah, blah. I too do not understand why children take on the father's last name unless the father is the one with full custody. The only reason why children get the father's last name in the first place is because it usually is the mother's last name too! 

  • I am choosing to give my son my last name only. We are not married and probably never will be. Think of it this way, you can always change it down the road. He/she will always be his child no matter what, whether he/she has his last name or not.
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  • I was married to my DDs' BF and while my DDs have his last name, I never took it.  I have never had any issues with people questioning whether I was my DDs' mother what-so-ever.  Recently, I have thought of hyphenating the girl's last names with mine but haven't done anything but that, think.

    Perhaps I will look into this further as our divorce should be coming to an end in the next couple months (should being the key word). 

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  • Hmmm.. after reading this thread I really feel like my reasoning for getting baby his daddy's last name is pretty petty. I have a looooong polish last name, very hard to pronounce, always misspoken and misspelled. Hyphenating it would be a nightmare. I figure giving baby his daddy's very basic and common last name is a much nicer choice.
  • I gave DD BD last name and to be honest I have never had any problems for having a different last name. I live in Colombia and everyone here has two last names both father and mother are included.

    If I were living in the US where people only use one last name, I would not give the child BD?s last name. Also I always told BD I would never change my last name either ( we were engaged but didnt get married).


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  • image AmandaJordan1985:
    I am choosing to give my son my last name only. We are not married and probably never will be. Think of it this way, you can always change it down the road. He/she will always be his child no matter what, whether he/she has his last name or not.

    That's what I think. If we get married, I will change her last name then, or when she gets older, if she tells me she wants his name, I won't have a problem with her having it. But, I think until then she is going to have my name. I mean his name will be on the BC so it's not like if anything happens she won't know who her father is.

     The ONLY thing that makes me question the decision is his feelings and his family's opinion. He didn't understand why I was even considering it-he just thinks children have their father's names and that's it. 

  • DS has X's last name and I've never had any problem with it. I've never had to prove I was his mom or anything like that. I don't see why there's any more reason for him to have my name over X's. He's just as much a parent as I am.
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  • image haleyw458:
    He's just as much a parent as I am.
    If this is the case maybe... BUT it is hard to tell how much some men will be involved sometimes. In my case the choice was obvious that she would have my name because her dad will be in jail...

    I couldn't make this sh*t up! 


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  • image haleyw458:
    DS has X's last name and I've never had any problem with it. I've never had to prove I was his mom or anything like that. I don't see why there's any more reason for him to have my name over X's. He's just as much a parent as I am.

    This is exactly my point! What are the reasons that the baby should have the father's name over the mother's name or vise versa?

    It seems to come down to-who is the parent that will always be in the child's life? Unless I die, it will be me. I will be the one that is always there, that the child lives with, and that, well, just DOES everything.

    I don't want to be called Ms. 'bf last name' because it is my child's last name. I would never even think of giving my child another man's last name if I ended up getting married to another man, but I just have a hard time justifying why my child should have his name. If it was a boy, I would completely understand him wanting to carry on the family name, but it's a girl, so it's probably going to be changed one day any way.

     Wow, didn't mean to ramble ha ha. I'm sleepy. 

  • I'm currently pregnant with my ex-husband's child.  Even though we were once married, I'm giving the baby my last name. I thought about hyphenating, but it would be so long and since the father isn't really in the picture right now, I don't see the point in letting his last name stay attached.  I think if you have any doubts about hyphenating or giving the baby the father's last name, I would just stick to your last name.
  • I hyphenated my DD's last name, and I really wish I hadn't. Her father and I didn't last 8 months after her being born, and I just think she should have had my last name. At the time I was all "Oh, she should have her dad's, that's the way it works, I don't want her to be weird." But seriously, long term, I'm her primary, always. And I should have given her my last name. hands down.

    But, that's just one story.

    Chelsea; 7/22/2005 Carissa; 4/9/2011 Cassidy; 9/6/2012



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  • My situation is a little different since I am not with the father, but my daughter is going to have my last name. When we were together I thought she might have his name, but with that possibility now out the window I've really thought about it and the only reason she would have his last name is tradition. And let's face it at this point I'm not really very traditional :) lol
  • I should say one more thing. I work in the health care industry and for a while was an administrative assistant at an information desk. I know some women said they have never had trouble with their name not matching but I had a lot of angry moms and dads because it was our policy for parents to present documentation of paternity (birth certificate) or a letter from a recognized parent in order to share medical information (if the names did not match). Once it was in the system it was never an issue after that. With HIPAA and other regulations it was just the policy.

    I couldn't make this sh*t up! 


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