The Signifigance of Emma v Evans on Name Changes. Avoid all this Red Tape!

Child Custody and Support, Family Law

How Does Emma v Evans Affect Red Tape?

Choosing what you like to be called is so personal, particularly if you have come to have particular associations with a given  or adopted name that are negative or difficult.  The court’s primary concern is making sure that the adult’s name change is not for the purpose of defrauding anyone or hiding from criminal charges or creditors (see N.J.S.A 2A:52-1).  With children, they apply a best interests analysis to a name change and  the recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision Emma v. Evans makes the analysis of these factors even more legally challenging for non-lawyers.

In Emma v. Evans, a divorced couple had a dispute about their children’s surname.  Shortly after their divorce, the wife modified the children’s surname from Emma to Evans-Emma in official records.  From the panel’s view in Emma v. Evans, “the decision to change a child’s name was a significant matter that required, at a minimum, an attempt to agree.”  (Quoted from Justia US Law).  The case really shows how the best interests of the child should be applied before proving which parent is right or wrong.  A huge decision such as a name change requires the parents to at least make an attempt to communicate on the issue at hand.

Even for an adult, the  process can be daunting and has multiple, complicated steps even if no one other than you cares what name you have. It’s even worse if there is a child name change and the other parent is objecting.  You may need an attorney to help you navigate this process. If you need a New Jersey name change, or wish to change your child’s name, please call 856-227-7888 or email [email protected] for a free consult on this matter. We have locations in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester counties, and are happy to discuss your legal options. We can help you with all that red tape!

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