Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Legal Stuff

I remember the first time I attempted a legal name change for Emma. I loaded her into her stroller, got the bus to our local courthouse, and picked up a thick packet of forms. The legal stuff was all foreign to me at the time, and I didn't have the confidence to fill them out on my own, nor could I seem to find anyone to help me fill them out. I'm pretty sure that was over seven years ago! This Labor Day, I sat on my grandmother's couch and electronically filled out every single form that I need to make this happen, including a fee waiver for filing/court fees, which I'm eligible for. Now comes the fun part - getting Emma's dad to sign off on legally changing the first name that he gave her, at a time when he's already come to the conclusion that I not only think that I'm "better" than everyone how high school is that!, but that I'm in the business of making decisions for him. His ability to make good decisions could definitely be argued, but this decision isn't about him at all, and I hope that he will be willing to hear me out, and not block this from becoming a legal reality. I didn't fight for this name eight years ago, but I'm prepared to do so now.

I'm not quite sure why the forms and/or the process was so intimidating at the start, but it felt good to be able to breeze through all seven forms this time around. We'll see just how painless this process will be.


  1. It might help if lil' Mama asks too. Children can be really effective. And while most people think that children "have a place", it is ultimately her that will carry the name with her through life so he should be willing to listen.

    I remember asking her which she preferred when we hung out (because I wanted to be respectful of that), and she told me she preferred the other. Maybe that was him brainwashing her. Who knows?!

    Whatever the case, I hope it works. Keep us posted.

  2. She mentioned the name to him once and she said that he wasn't very receptive. Basically told her that he wasn't going to call her Emma because that wasn't her name. She and I have repeated discussions of what she'd like to be called, especially as we were heading into a second year of the possibility of going strictly by Emma, and a new school. We drafted out choices, which included whether to include her legal name in the renaming or not. She spent time with the combination and made a choice that she was happy with, so that's what I'd put on the name change packet.

    I'm not expecting him to be all for this at all, especially not at a time in which he feels that I "make decisions for him". However, we're ready for the change to take place so I plan on doing what I can to convince him that this is a good thing. Considering the fact that he's now experienced mother loss, maybe he'll be more receptive.