State ex rel. Connor H.Annotate this Case
Connor was born out of wedlock to Blake and Amanda and given Amanda’s maiden surname. Amanda was granted sole legal and physical custody of Connor. Amanda subsequently married and changed her surname to that of her husband. Thereafter, both Amanda and Blake sought to change Connor’s surname - Blake proposing his surname and Amanda proposing her married surname. The district court entered an order changing Connor’s surname to Blake’s surname, giving preference to the paternal surname and using a “substantial evidence” standard. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court applied an incorrect burden of proof, as the child’s best interests is the controlling standard; (2) the district court wrongfully gave preference to the surname of Blake because no automatic preference as to the surname of a child born in wedlock exists in Nebraska law; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to show that a change to either Blake’s surname or Amanda’s married surname would promote his best interests. Remanded.