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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

HEATHER HOLST-KNUDSEN f/k/a HEATHER MIKISCH VS. ERIK MIKISCH A-3596-10T1

HEATHER HOLST-KNUDSEN f/k/a HEATHER MIKISCH VS. ERIK

MIKISCH

A-3596-10T1

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