How do I Petition for a Name Change?

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  • Written By: M. Lupica
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 January 2020
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There are many circumstances in which you may want to petition for a name change, including both divorce and marriage. The rules governing the process vary heavily from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically it is a two-step process of filling out the appropriate forms and returning those forms to the appropriate office with any necessary documentation. There are some restrictions on filing a petition for a name change depending on the legal status of the person who is seeking the name change.

The first step in filing a petition for a name change is to go to the courthouse in the jurisdiction in which you live and request the appropriate forms from the clerk. The forms should have instructions attached as to the rules and the documentation required. Typically, the required documentation consists solely of a certified birth certificate, but other jurisdictions sometimes require additional information, such as an affidavit of consent to the name change. Additionally, there is generally a modest court fee that must be provided for the service.


The typical petition for a name change form requires that the petitioner provide identifying information such as the petitioner’s present name, date of birth, and address. The petitioner must then identify the name change he or she is requesting and if he or she is under the age of majority, it must be indicated that the petitioner is the parent or legal guardian of the child. Usually, as is needed when a person with multiple children gets married, the form will provide for multiple names to be changed in one filing. Prior to submitting these forms to the appropriate party with all the needed documentation, you must also have the forms notarized for verification purposes.

There are some common restrictions to the granting of a petition for a name change, however. As mentioned above, if the person is not of the age of majority, then he or she may only change his or her name with the express written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian. Anyone presently incarcerated in prison is generally prohibited from effecting a name change. Further, if the party is required to register as a sexual predator or violent party with the government even after release from prison, he or she will not be allowed to change his or her name. Additionally, anyone with a prior felony conviction is generally required to take extra steps to ensure notification to the government of the name change.


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