This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).






In the Matter of the Application of:

Kadey Beth Danielson on behalf of:

Samantha Marie Jameson for a name change to:

Samantha Marie Danielson.


Filed February 7, 2006


Kalitowski, Judge


Sherburne County District Court

File No. C5-04-1080


Matthew Abram Jameson, OID #166574, MCF Faribault, 1101 Linden Lane, Faribault, MN 55021 (pro se appellant)


Kadey Beth Danielson, 315 Fern Street, #102, Big Lake, MN 55309 (pro se respondent)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Appellant Matthew Abram Jameson challenges the district court’s decision to grant respondent Kadey Beth Danielson’s motion to change the surname of the parties’ child from Jameson to Danielson.  We affirm. 


We review the district court’s decision to grant or deny a name change under an abuse-of-discretion standard.  In re Welfare of C.M.G., 516 N.W.2d 555, 561 (Minn. App. 1994).  A district court “shall” grant an application for a change in a minor child’s name unless the court finds the change is not in the best interests of the child.  Minn. Stat. § 259.11(a)(3) (2004).  But “judicial discretion in ordering a change of a minor’s surname against the objection of one parent should be exercised with great caution and only where the evidence is clear and compelling that the substantial welfare of the child necessitates such change.”  In re Saxton, 309 N.W.2d 298, 301 (Minn. 1981) (quotation omitted).  “When granting or denying a petition for a name change, the court must set forth clear and compelling reasons for its decision.”  LaChapelle v. Mitten, 607 N.W.2d 151, 166 (Minn. App. 2000) (quotation omitted), review denied (Minn. May 16, 2000).  To determine a child’s best interests, the district court should consider such factors as the child’s preference, the effect the name change would have on the child’s relationship with each parent, the length of time the child has had the current name, the degree of respect the present and proposed names have within the community, and the potential the name change might have to cause harassment or embarrassment.  Saxton, 309 N.W.2d at 301. 

Here, the district court’s findings reflect its consideration of the appropriate factors.  The court found that the name change would provide more consistency and less confusion for the child because she would have the same surname as her mother, who is the child’s sole physical and legal custodian and with whom the child has lived all of her life.  The district court also found that the child would suffer no disruption from the change of name because at 18 months of age she has not yet started school and has no existing community ties to the Jameson name.  The court further found that the name change would improve and foster the child’s relationship with respondent but would not negatively impact or hinder the child’s relationship with appellant.  Addressing whether the child could face difficulties with the current or proposed name, the court explained that living with a surname different than her primary custodial parent’s surname could cause confusion or embarrassment for the child.  Finally, the district court concluded that the name change is in the child’s best interests.  We conclude that the testimonial evidence presented at the name-change hearing supports the district court’s findings.

Appellant argues that the court should have established whether he had been adjudicated the child’s birth father.  But the record indicates that appellant testified, “I have been adjudicated the birth father.”  Moreover, the court confirmed that the parties signed a declaration of parentage acknowledging appellant as the child’s father.  We also note that although appellant objected to the name change at the hearing, he did not claim that the change in his daughter’s surname would hinder his relationship with her or conflict with her best interests.  On this record we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion in granting respondent’s request to change the child’s surname.   


*  Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.