APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
Mother and Next Friend, for change of name (Debra Kay
Ahlden et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v.
Bradford S. Craig, Defendant-Appellant)
518 N.E.2d 728, 164 Ill. App. 3d 1090, 116 Ill. Dec. 106 1987.IL.1985
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. John G. Townsend, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH and LUND, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SPITZ
On April 16, 1987, a petition for change of name was filed in the Champaign County circuit court on behalf of Lisa Ann Craig by her mother, Debra Kay Ahlden, pursuant to "An Act to revise the law in relation to names" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 96, par. 1 et seq.) seeking to change Lisa's surname from Craig to Ahlden. On June 26, 1987, a hearing was conducted to consider the petition.
On that date, Lisa was 12 years old and had lived with her mother pursuant to a custody order entered in 1976 in a divorce proceeding wherein Debra Kay Craig was divorced from Lisa's father, Bradford Stephen Craig. Debra Kay Craig married Clark Ahlden on December 6, 1980. At the time of the hearing, two children had been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ahlden, Clark Ryan Ahlden, age 5, and Clayton Paul Ahlden, age 4. Bradford Stephen Craig, Lisa's father, had also remarried in October 1980. Lisa is Craig's only child.
The evidence adduced at the hearing indicated that Craig had consistently paid child support for Lisa since the time of the divorce, that Lisa and Craig have a loving relationship, that there has been no misconduct or neglect by Craig towards Lisa, and that Craig vigorously opposes the name change.
Lisa testified that she wanted to change her last name so that she could have the same last name as her brothers, who will attend the same school. She stated that she is very close to her stepbrothers and that she wants to be known as their sister. She also testified that she loves her stepfather, and desires to have his name and the name of her family. She stated that she did not want to change her name to disassociate herself from her natural father. She further stated that both her mother and stepfather support her desire to change her surname, but she denied that anyone told her to change her name. She further testified that she had been thinking about changing her name for about two years.
Debra Kay Ahlden testified that Lisa has become integrated into her new family and that she wants Lisa to have the surname Ahlden because Lisa has wanted this for a long time, and she wants Lisa to be happy. She stated that Lisa gets very upset at ...