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What's in a Name?


Five days after Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed their baby girl, the new arrival's name has been revealed. And it's likely to surprise the couple's fans. The reality star and the rapper named their daughter North West. In most states, you may give your child any first, middle, and last name you like. Whether you are married or not, you don’t have to give the baby the last name of either parent if you don’t want to, and the child does not have to have the father’s last name to be considered “legitimate.”

In Indiana, the natural father of a child born out-of-wedlock enjoys no rights regarding child's name until his paternity has been established in the eyes of the law. It is only once paternity is established and both mother and father potentially enjoy equal legal rights as parents that both mother and father will have equal rights in naming of child.

So what would happen if Kim and Kanye break up? Or if Kanye is not the biological father? This presents an interesting question… can Kanye take away his last name or can Kim rename the baby a Kardashian?

In an Indiana case in 1995, the Courts found that where one legal parent contests petition filed by the other to change name of their minor child and paternity has already been established, trial court must determine whether name change is in child's best interest; beyond insuring child's continued welfare, this inquiry guarantees both parents equal opportunity to assert their legal rights in regard to naming of their child.

So in conclusion, it depends. If Kanye is not North’s biological father and Kim wishes to have the baby have the same last name as hers, it seems likely that the Courts would find that that is in the baby’s best interest. However, if they break-up, but paternity is established, it would be unlikely that either could change North West’s name.

At Roberts Means Roncevic Kapela LLC Attorneys at Law, our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, custody, support, or any other family law concerns contact our firm at 317.DIVORCE or visit our website at
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