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Tenn. AG: Parents Can't Give Kids New Last Names

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's attorney general says married parents can't invent new last names for their children.

Attorney General Bob Cooper writes in a legal opinion that state law limits the options to the last name of either the father or the mother, or both.

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What's not allowed, says Cooper, is a hybrid name using portions of both parents' last names. For example, he says, the child of a couple named Johnson or McAllister could have either last name or both names hyphenated.

But Cooper says the parents could not decide to create a new name like "Johnister" or 'McAllinson."

The legal opinion was requested by Republican state Rep. Charles Sargent of Franklin.

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