HEATHER HOLST-KNUDSEN f/k/a HEATHER MIKISCH VS. ERIK
This appeal from post-divorce orders implicates the
holdings of Gubernat v. Deremer, 140 N.J. 120 (1995), and Ronan
v. Adely, 182 N.J. 103 (2004), that a strong presumption shall
be applied in favor of the choice of the primary caretaker
parent for a child's surname. We express our disagreement with
another panel of this court in Emma v. Evans, ___ N.J. Super.
___, ___, ___ (App. Div. 2012) (slip op. at 2, 7), that the
presumption does not apply to children born to married parents.
We conclude that a distinction based on birth in or out of
wedlock is not supported by the Supreme Court's analysis in
Gubernat and Ronan. We suggest that the Supreme Court might
choose to consider whether the presumption should apply where
the parties have entered into a detailed parenting agreement
that is nonetheless silent on the issue of the child's name.
Parts of our opinion that address other issues are redacted
from the published version. 03-05-12