Despite the impact of COVID-19, we are open and continuing to meet the needs of our existing clients and new clients without interruption or change in the quality of our services. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns, questions or requests for information about your matter. At this time, due to various requirements, we are scheduling consultations and appointments via telephonic and/or video conferencing.

To help out during these trying times we are offering Free Virtual Consultations. Click here to schedule your Virtual Consultation.

What's in a name?

When divorced parents have joint legal custody and a child is born in wedlock, how will the Court address one parent's desire to change the child's surname?

In the recently decided case of Emma v. Evans, the Court eliminated the previous presumption in favor of the parent of primary residence's surname. Emma v. Evans, 424 N.J. Super. 36 (App. Div.). certif. granted, 210 N.J. 217 (2012). The Court reasoned that the presumption created a bias in favor of the maternal surname because the parent of primary residence was frequently the mother. The Court cited the public policy concern that if a presumption in favor of the parent of primary residence continued to exist then this presumption would likely lead to parties litigating the "parent of primary residence" label. Though the presumption in favor of the maternal surname was eliminated for children born in wedlock, the Court distinguished this case from those in which a child was born out of wedlock. The Court preserved the presumption in favor of the maternal surname of the parent of primary residence in cases in which the child at issue was born out of wedlock.

After eliminating the past presumption, the Court reaffirmed the best interest standard and acknowledged that the factors set forth in Roman v. Adely would continue to be utilized in a change of name proceeding. 182 N.J. 103 (2004).

In accordance with the Court's ruling, the relevant Roman v. Adely factors that the Court will consider in a change of child's surname application to the Court are as follows:

•1. The length of time the child uses the surname.

•2. The identification of a child as part of a family unit.

•3. The anxiety or discomfort a child may experience if he/she uses a different surname from the custodial parent.

•4. The child's preference.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Set Up A Consultation, Email Our Firm Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location

100 Southgate Parkway
Suite 190
Morristown, NJ 07960-6465

Toll Free: 800-465-0163
Toll Free: 800-465-0163
Phone: 973-692-6317
Phone: 973-692-6500
Fax: 973-692-6377
Morristown Law Office Map

Paramus Office
140 E. Ridgewood Avenue
South Tower, Suite 415
Paramus, NJ 07652

Phone: 201-597-6100
Map & Directions

Princeton Office
103 Carnegie Center
Suite 300
Princeton, NJ 08540-6235

Map & Directions

Phone Numbers