Verified Complaint for Name Change of Minor Plaintiff
- June 4, 2013
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In the recent case of Fleury v. Fleury, the Appellate Division in its unpublished opinion, held that the permitting the mother to change the last-name of a minor child on a verbal request was improper because New Jersey Court Rule 4:72-1 requires that a verified complaint be filed for an application to change a surname. The Appellate Court reversed the part of the Trial Court’s Order which denied Defendant-Appellant’s motion to change the son’s surname back to his prior last name. Defendant claimed that under Rule 4:72-1 Plaintiff was supposed to file a verified complaint for the request to change their son’s surname which would state the grounds for the request and that under Rule 4:72-3 Plaintiff would be required to publicize a notification of the request in local newspapers and serve the notice on Defendant at his last known address by certified and regular mail which Plaintiff failed to do. The Trial Court held Defendant-Appellant’s motion was denied because it was not filed within the time requirement for a motion of reconsideration which is within twenty days after service of the judgment or order. The Defendant then moved for reconsideration. The Appellate Court held that it was not determined that Defendant’s motion request was actually past the time allowed. Further New Jersey Court Rule 4:50, which allows for relief from an order or judgment where it is no longer equitable, could have been applied. It would be applicable because Defendant did not specifically label his motion as being a motion for reconsideration. The Court, as a court of justice, could then right the inequity of not providing Defendant with proper notice of Plaintiff’s request to change the child’s last name and of not giving him the chance to contest Plaintiff’s request. The Appellate Court stated the Trial Court might ultimately find allowing the minor child’s surname change is in his best interests but Defendant must be given notice of the application for the name change and he has the right to the opportunity to challenge the Plaintiff’s application. If you want to have your child’s last name changed, want to have your last name changed or if you have been served papers requesting a minor child’s last name be changed then you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights. For more information about surname change applications, child support, child custody, divorce or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.comThis blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.