Depending on the state you reside in, the petition for a name change may be filed in a circuit, district, superior, or supreme court. 

Does it Take a Long Time?

Most petitions for a name change are uncontested and are heard in an informal setting in very little time. Occasionally, you can see the judge or other decision-maker immediately following the filing of the petition.

Are There Any Requirements I Need to Meet in Order to File the Petition?

There are several requirements you should be aware of when filing a petition for a name change, which include: 

  • Residency – Depending on the state you live in, you must have lived in that state for about 6-12 months prior to filing the petition
  • Age – You must be at least 18 years old
  • Fee – The clerk collects a filing fee at the time of filing – fees vary by state
  • Notice – If an interested party exists, you must either gain the consent of that party or publish a formal notice

Who is an Interested Party?

Interested parties may include: 

  • non-custodial parent of a minor child
  • spouse
  • ex-spouse when minor children are common to the parties
  • grandparents
  • guardians
  • any other party where the law may require service of the notice of hearing

Is There Only One Form to Fill Out?

There are actually several forms to be filled out in order to process your name change: 

  • Petition for Change of Name – Formal request to court to change our name
  • Order Changing Name – Final order signed by judge prepared by applicant approving the name change
  • Affidavit of Consent – Formal consent given by interested party
  • Notice of Hearing or Order to Show Cause – Notice provided to interested parties if no consent was given
  • Affidavit of Diligent Search – Formal statement declaring best efforts made to locate interested party without success

Do I Need an Attorney for my Name Change?

Consulting with a family lawyer regarding any significant legal matter, such as a name change, is always a wise thing to do.  An experienced family attorney can explain the impact of changing your name and help you fill out all the necessary forms.