In any Florida family law case involving a minor child, the court is obligated to rule in the child’s best interest. Thus, if a party fails to demonstrate how or why their requested relief will benefit the child in question, their request will likely be denied. This was illustrated recently in a Florida ruling in which the court reversed a trial court order denying parents’ unopposed request to change the first name of their minor daughter. If you need assistance with a family law matter involving a minor child, you should seek advice from a Miami family law attorney about your options for pursuing your desired outcome.
Factual Backdrop of the Case
It is alleged that the parents of a seventeen-year-old child filed an unopposed petition to change their child’s first name. The trial court denied their motion after which they filed a motion for rehearing. The trial court denied their motion as well, after which they appealed.
Grounds for Granting a Name Change Request
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s initial order in which it denied the parents’ petition to change the child’s first name but reversed the second order denying the parents’ motion for rehearing. First, the court explained that it reviews trial court decisions in such matters for abuse of discretion.
In the subject case, the parents argued that the trial court abused its discretion by relying on dissolution and paternity cases involving opposed name change petitions rather than considering unopposed petitions to change a child’s first name. They also contended that the trial court erred in suggesting that the child could change her name once she turned eighteen.
The court ultimately found that the parents’ arguments lacked merit. Although the cited cases were factually different, the trial court relied on them to support the general proposition that a name change petition must demonstrate how the change would be in the child’s best interests. In this case, the parents’ petition lacked evidence showing the benefits of changing the child’s first name. Thus, the court ruled that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition.
As to the order denying the parents’ motion for rehearing, the court agreed with the parents’ argument that the trial court abused its discretion by denying their motion. Specifically, the court noted that the motion for rehearing included affidavits from the mother, father, and child explaining the benefits of changing the child’s first name. The court found that the evidence provided in the motion demonstrated how the name change would be in the child’s best interests, and therefore, the trial court erred in denying the motion for rehearing. Thus, it reversed the second order.
Confer with an Experienced Miami Attorney
When presented with a request to change the name of a minor child, the Florida courts will assess whether the change is in the child’s best interest when evaluating whether the request should be granted. If you need assistance with a family law matter involving your child, it is prudent to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. can assess the facts of your case and advise you of what measures you can take to protect your child’s interests. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in family law matters in Miami. You can reach us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to schedule a meeting.