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Neal v. Neal

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Family Law Keyed to Weisberg

Citation. Neal v. Neal, 941 S.W.2d 501, 1997 Mo. LEXIS 33 (Mo. Mar. 25, 1997)

Brief Fact Summary. Wife and Husband separated while Wife was pregnant. Wife petitioned to have her surname changed back to her maiden name, and placed her maiden name as surname for her son upon his birth. The trial court refused to grant Wife’s requested name change, and changed the child’s name to Husband’s surname.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Due to clear legislative intent, a general concern of potential detriment is insufficient to prevent an individual’s name change. However, proper notice is required for a child’s name change.

Facts. Melissa Neal and Bruce Neal separated in 1995 while she was pregnant. Wife petitioned for dissolution of marriage and requested orders relative to the minor child and restoration of her maiden name. Husband denied that the marriage was irretrievably broken and requested dismissal of Wife’s petition. Upon birth of the parties’ son Wife denominated her surname, Gintz, as the child’s surname on his birth certificate. During a decree of dissolution the court ordered the surname of the minor child changed to Neal. Wife appealed.

Did the trial court err in refusing to restore her maiden name, Gintz?

Did the trial court err by granting Husband’s request to change the child’s surname to Neal?

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