Texas laws allow you to legally change a child's name by filing a petition in court. Both parents and any other person who has a court-ordered right and interest in the child must grant consent. Children ten years of age or older must also grant written consent to the name change. The petition and all other necessary forms are filed in the Texas District Court of the county in which the child resides.
Obtain the necessary forms. You'll need: Petition for Change of Name of Child, two Verification forms, a Consent form and the Order Granting Name Change form. Check with the county and district court websites in the county of the child's residence; some Texas counties and district courts offer the forms you need online. Visit the district court in person for the forms if they are not available online.
Fill out the Petition for Change of Name of Child. The following information is requested on the form: names of both parents; child's current name and address, new name; reason for the new name; and last four numbers of the child's Social Security number. Both parents, or legal guardians, must sign and date the petition. Make two copies.
Complete the two Verification forms. Each parent must sign and date a Verification form and have the signature notarized. Make two copies of each form.
Ask the child to sign and date the Consent form if he is ten years of age or older. Make two copies.
Go to the district court with the Petition, Verification and Consent forms, if needed. File the forms in the county clerk's office. Texas courts charge a fee for filing name-change paperwork, but the amount you pay varies with each county. Once you file, the clerk will tell you which court will process the petition. Contact that court to schedule the hearing.
Fill out the Order Granting Name Change form. You'll need the date of the hearing, names of both parents, child's current name, child's date and place of birth, including county and state, and last four numbers of the child's Social Security number. Make sure you don't accidentally sign or date the order in the space provided for the judge. Make two copies.
Go to the hearing and bring with you the original and copies of the order form and a copy of the petition. In Texas, you are required to perform a "Prove-Up" in front of the judge, which means you are required to state facts from your petition to the judge. Use your petition copy as a reference. Give the judge your original order form for his signature.
Tips & Warnings
If you can't get the consent of the other parent, you must serve the other parent by mail or by running a legal notice in a local newspaper. Check with the district court to see which additional forms you'll need in this case, as procedures vary slightly by county.
It might not be necessary to file a petition in court if you're attempting to fix a mistake on the child's birth certificate. Contact the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics before filing a court petition to see if you can correct the error through the agency.
Contact the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics and local Social Security office to change the child's name on her birth certificate and Social Security card after receiving the signed court order.
References & Resources
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