In many cultures, a child’s surname
has a significant symbolic value attached to it. A surname serves to mark our heritage, our religion, and, perhaps most importantly, our family origins. On this note, when a child is born in Georgia, if the child’s paternity is known, the father’s surname is given to the child.
The practice of giving a child the surname of his or her father predates our nation and stretches back centuries; however, this rule is not absolute, given situations in which a child is exclusively raised by their mother, or the father is not involved in the child’s life.
In these cases, the custodial parent may wish to change the child’s surname. As such, Georgia law recognizes three scenarios under which a child’s surname may be changed, dependent on whether the child was born in or out of wedlock, or if the name change is being exercised by consent of one of the parents.