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NAME CHANGE: NOT AN EASY THING

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Some of us were drunk in stupid when we named our children and decide later that we made a decision that needs to be reversed. If that happens to be you, changing a child’s name is not as easy as naming him/her the first time but if it is in your heart to do, you must do.

Minor Child’s Legal Name Change

In the United States, you generally have a legal right to change the name of your minor child at any time, provided you have a cause that is deemed appropriate and legal. You cannot, for example, change their name to avoid judgments, debts, or to commit fraud. Additionally, changing a minor’s name is not the same as adoption. If you intend to legally change the name of your minor child, you must file a petition with your local court. Here’s the general procedure you’ll need to follow when legally changing the name of your minor child. Please be aware that the process can slightly vary from state to state. Make sure you go to your local counties website to determine exactly what you need to do.

 

Change Your Minor Child’s Legal Name

1. File Your Petition

The first step in changing your minor child’s name is to obtain the following form from the District or Circuit Clerk of court in your county:

  • Petition for Name Change

Read the instructions carefully and fill out all sections, except for the dates and signatures. You must verify, or sign, your petition in the presence of a certified notary public. Notaries usually charge a small fee for their services. Once you’ve signed the petition, and filed it with your court clerk, there will be additional procedures specific to your county. The clerk of your county will let you know the Service and Notice procedures that your county requires.

Usually at this time, the clerk will also set a date for a hearing. Any additional requirements must be fulfilled before that hearing date.

2. Have Your Fingerprints Taken

Having a state and federal criminal background check is a NOT a requirement in all states. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be required to complete this process when seeking to legally change the name of your minor child. If your state requires this, you’ll need to have your fingerprints taken at an IdentoGo Center prior to appearing before the court. This will cost you about $40. You can find a list of IdentoGo Centers here.

3. Attend Your Hearing

Before you attend your hearing make at least 2 copies of all paperwork for your records. If you obtained a fingerprint card please attach it to the petition before filing with your local court clerk. You also must present the clerk any required Proof of Notice and Service.

If both parents do not consent to changing their minor child’s name, Notice will be required and this will delay the process by at least 15 days.

After all documents have been properly filed and a hearing date has been set, you must attend the hearing in person and appear before the judge. If the judge approves your request for a legal name change of your minor child, your Order will be signed. Be aware that in some states you will need to bring you minor child and or their birth certificate to the hearing. Additional documentation such as photo identification and security cards for either or both consenting parents are sometimes required, depending on the specific procedures of your state.

4. Request Your Minor Child’s Change of Name Certificate

File your signed Order with the clerk of court to finalize your minor child’s name change. You will be issued a certified copy of the Order for your minor child’s name change at this time. You’ll need this certificate to change your minor child’s name on a range of documents, including their passport, driver license and Social Security card (if applicable). You should expect to pay about $10 for each certified copy of the Order. Getting additional copies can be helpful as this certified document is used to prove the legal name change of your minor child with various agencies.

-D.L.P.
Auspicious Living Magazine

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