The parents (as recognized by law) of a child are allowed to name the child whatever they choose. This is true for the first, middle and last names. A child is not required to have the last name of the father, or of either parent. Unmarried parents may give the child the last name of the father on the theory that a name is something inherited and passed down through paternal lineage. Unmarried parents may give the child the last name of the mother on the theory that if men were the ones spending numerous hours in labor, they would hardly be naming their children after women. The parents may select a hyphenated name or an entirely unrelated name.
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