He's Not The Dad. Can I Give the Baby His Name?
Pregnancy can be an emotional time for any mom, and so much more so for the mom who's been left by her partner at such a vulnerable life juncture. Despite your best efforts to show your strength and sense of humor, it's obvious -- and natural -- that you feel hurt and angry.
Dropping the biological father's surname and replacing it with the name of a new boyfriend who promises to be there for you feels right to you at this moment. And why not? Names are powerful signifiers. This simple gesture would allow you to stick it to your ex and honor the new man in your life all at once.
Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. Erasing the biological father's surname from your life will not erase the painful memories, or the reality of his paternity. And in the end, it could even wind up causing you more pain.
I have said it in the past, and I'll say it again: I am a Name Lady, not a Law Lady. But many localities have laws dictating what a baby's last name can be. You may not be allowed to choose a surname that neither parent bears. You need to talk to your local authorities or find an expert on family law in your area to help you understand your options.
One possible temptation I'd advise strongly against: listing the wrong bio dad to get the right name. This is legal paperwork we're talking about. If you knowingly report the "wrong" daddy, the one you wish had been the sperm donor versus the one who actually was, you could be committing fraud, and that could create serious repercussions for you down the road.
While your baby's biological father is out of the picture today, at any point he may reappear and assert his paternity. Unless he has formally relinquished legal paternity he has certain rights and obligations as a parent; rights you will be required to respect and obligations that you may find yourself calling upon in the future.
As for your current boyfriend, he has clearly stepped up to the plate during this challenging time in your life. He sounds like a stand-up guy. Perhaps you can honor his dedication and support during your pregnancy by using a different first or middle name for your daughter. Talk with him to find a name that means something to him, or to both of you together as a couple. Then pair that with your surname.
Today's families come in all shapes and sizes and configurations. In most places it's now common and accepted for a child to carry her mother's surname. And if, sometime down the line, it becomes clear that your boyfriend really is your daughter's daddy in the true, loving sense, you can pursue making that legal -- complete with his surname -- via adoption.