Parenting for Unmarried Couples FAQ

When an unmarried couple has a child, whose last name does the child take?

In the vast majority of states, when it comes to baby names, anything goes. This includes first, middle, and last names. You don't have to give the baby the last name of either parent -- for example, Mary Jones and Jack Brown can name their child Sunrise Smith. You may opt to hyphenate both of your last names, give the child one of your last names as a middle name -- or decide later and amend the birth certificate to reflect your new choice. (You can amend a birth certificate by contacting your state's Department of Vital Statistics, which you can locate through the website of the National Center for Health Statistics.)

Find a Lawyer

Start here to find family and divorce lawyers near you.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you

Legal Information & Books from Nolo