Permit Mother to Change the Child's Last Name

The Delaware Court's adopted the best interests of the child standard in change of name petition matters. In Re: Change of Name of Walter to Coffin, CCP, C. A. No. 1998-06-222, Fraczkowski, J. (Sep. 30, 1998); In Re: Change of Name of Evans to Brown, CCP, C. A. No. 1998-10-147, Welch, J. (Mar. 11, 1999). Other jurisdictions have considered the issue currently before the Court of whether to permit Mother to change the child's last name to only her maiden name from Father's last name or, in the alternative, to hyphenate the last name to include the last names of both Father and Mother. In Cohee v. Cohee, Neb. Supr., 210 Neb. 855, 317 N.W.2d 381 (1982), the Court held that the best interests of the child would require that the child bear a hyphenated last name with the father's name first and the mother's name second. The Cohee court noted that there is no presumption in favor of the custodial parent in the selection of the child's last name. However, the issue of custody, along with other factors, should be considered in determining the best interests of the child. As previously noted, in the instant case, Mother has sole custody, but Father has visitation with CJ. Similarly, the Iowa Supreme Court in the case of In re Marriage of Rhonda Lynn Gulsvig and Gerald Gulsvig, 498 N.W. 2d 725 (1993), concluded that neither parent has a superior right to determine the last name of a child, citing Jacobs v. Jacobs, 309 N.W. 2d 303, 305 (Minn. 1981). The Nebraska Supreme Court in the case of In Re Andrews, 235 Neb. 170, 454 N. W. 2d 488 (1990), after noting that each parent has an equal right and interest in determining the last name of their child, held that a hyphenated last name would be in the best interests of the minor children.