“My 19 year old son recently advised me he wanted to “Divorce his father, and legally change his name so as he does not carry on his father’s family name” (he is The 3rd). My son came to this decision after learning that his father (who had physical custody of our son while he was a minor) bounced checks for college tuition he had originally agreed to pay, claimed that he supported my son on his income tax returns for the past 12 years though he lived apart from my son and paid no child support or general support to my son, and left medical bills unpaid from while my son was a minor that are now appearing on my son’s credit report (our child support order had his father responsible for these bills). To boot his father is an alleged IV drug user who’s “friends” have robbed my son on two separate occasions breaking into his room and stealing money, electronics, and anything else that could be sold for drugs, basically leaving my son no recourse for action because he lives in his Grandmother’s home. Obviously the best thing for my son is to remove himself from his current living situation, but this leaves a ton of legal issues my son needs to resolve with limited funds available for legal representation.
My questions are below and ANY help you give would be so greatly appreciated.
1. Can a 19 year old “divorce” a parent? Does my son need to legally “divorce” his father so that there is no parental consideration of his father’s income while applying for student aid for college?
2. Does he have any recourse to “make” his father pay the back tuition to the college since he now is unable to enroll due to outstanding tuition bills and inability to make a “payment arrangement” with the school since his father passed an NSF check to the college?
3. What can he do to legally change his name so as to NOT be the likeness of his father’s name, thereby being harassed for BOTH financial and legal obligations belonging to his father?
4. What can he do to remove reports from his credit file where his father may have illegally used his name and SS# to obtain credit and can he sue his father for any of the actions claimed above?”
You have many separate, and complicated issues. Let’s deal with the easiest ones first: your son is technically an adult now, and if he wants to change his name he may certainly do so. He should contact the local Clerk of Courts and ask them how to go about changing his name. Generally speaking, there is no such thing as divorcing a parent, and in any event, again, your son is now an adult, and so for *most* matters, it would be a moot point. That brings us to the outstanding debt. If your son’s father was legally obligated to pay for college (such as by a court order), than either he or you might have some recourse. However, if his father does not have the funds to pay the bills (as it sounds may be the case), then this may not really be an avenue worth pursuing. If, on the other hand, there is no legal obligation on his part to support your son through college, then he may be out of luck – the bounced check for the outstanding tuition is a matter between whomever wrote the check (your son’s father) and to whomever he wrote the check. As for the credit reports, whenever someone is denied credit, and also once a year in any event, a consumer has the right to get a copy of their credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Your son can get a copy of his credit report, make a note of any errors or items which were not truly incurred by him, and then dispute those items with the credit reporting agency.