Can I Change My Child's Name in Massachusetts if I Can't Find the Father?
If the father's rights haven't been terminated, he has a right to notice of the petition for name change, so as to have the opportunity to bject. If the whereabouts of the father are unknown, the court may order notice by publication in a local newspaper or legal notice location. Such legal notice can avoid the need to obtain actual consent. Please see the following MA statutes:
G.L.c. 210, § 12. Petitions for change of name.
Section 12. A petition for the change of name of a person may be
heard by the probate court in the county where the petitioner resides.
The change of name of a person shall be granted unless such change
is inconsistent with public interests.
G.L.c. 210, § 13. Notice and certificate; decree; entry; conditions precedent.
Section 13. The court shall, before decreeing a change of name, request a report from the commissioner of probation on the person filing the petition and, except for good cause shown, require public notice of the petition to be given and any person may be heard thereon, and, upon entry of a decree, the name as established thereby shall be the legal name of the petitioner, and the register may issue a certificate, under the seal of the court, of the name as so established.
No decree shall be entered, however, until there has been filed in the court a copy of the birth record of the person whose name is sought to be changed and, in case such person's name has previously been changed by decree of court or at marriage pursuant to section one D of chapter forty-six, either a copy of the record of his birth amended to conform to the previous decree changing his name, a copy of such decree, or a copy of the record of marriage; provided, that the filing of any such copy may be dispensed with if the judge is satisfied that it cannot be obtained.