Matter of L.Z.N.

The North Dakota Supreme Court determined it was proper for the district court to look at the social stigma associated with sex offenders in determining the best interest of a child in a name change petition. Shortly after L.Z.N.'s birth, Shawn Narvais plead guilty to four counts of possession of certain materials prohibited. The mother filed a petition on behalf of the child to change his surname, arguing: (1) she did not want L.Z.N. to carry around the stigma of Narvais's crimes because he shared a last name with his father; (2) she wanted L.Z.N. to have the same last name as his half-sibling, herself, and his maternal grandparents; (3) L.Z.N. wanted to change his last name; and (4) Narvais requested a paternity test to establish his relationship with L.Z.N. and has not been involved with or supported L.Z.N. in any significant way since his incarceration. Narvais appealed a district court's order granting a petition to change his child's surname. Narvais argued the district court used improper factors in determining the best interest of L.Z.N., he was not provided proper notice of the name change petition, and his due process rights were violated because he was not allowed to appear for the hearing. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Matter of L.Z.N." on Justia Law

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