In Kentucky, any person over the age of 18 who has lived in Kentucky for at least six months may petition the local county circuit court to have his last name changed. Parents wishing to change the last name of their minor children, for example after a marriage or divorce, will need to petition the court on their children's behalf. The Kentucky name change process is straightforward, and most people do not need any legal assistance with this procedure but it's never a bad idea to consult with an attorney if you feel you should. Adults may not even need to appear in court to have their name changed in Kentucky.
Adult Name Change
Obtain a copy of the Petition of Name Change form, also called AOC-296. You can find this online on the Kentucky Court of Justice Forms Library, or you can request a copy of the petition from the circuit court clerk or probate court clerk at your local county courthouse.
Complete two copies of the form. The form cannot be filled out by hand; it must be typed. Take both copies of the form to a notary public or probate clerk. You will need to bring photo identification to the notary public. Sign the copies in front of the notary. The notary or clerk will stamp your form.
Bring both copies of the notarized petition to the circuit court clerk's office. Pay the filing fee. This amount varies from court to court. The clerk will stamp the petition with a date stamp and issue a case number. If you have valid photo identification, the clerk will simply send your petition to a judge for her signature. If you do not have valid photo identification, the clerk will schedule a hearing in front of a probate judge and inform you of the date.
Attend your court hearing, if a hearing is required, and answer any questions asked by the judge. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether to allow your petition for a name change. If the judge allows the petition, she will sign an order for name change.
Request certified copies of the signed order from the circuit court clerk. You will need this in order to have the name on your birth certificate and Social Security card changed. There may be a fee for this.
Minor's Name Change
Obtain a copy of the Petition of Name Change form. Fill out two copies of the form on your child's behalf.
Take both copies of the completed petition to a notary public or probate clerk. Sign the form in front of the notary public or clerk. Both biological parents or guardians must sign the form. If one parent is deceased, you will need a copy of the death certificate. If one parent is not available, for example if her location is unknown or she does not agree to the name change, the petitioning parent must attempt to notify her by sending a certified letter to her last known address. Or, the petitioning parent may send the absent parent a copy of the name change petition and the court date and time.
Bring the notarized copies of the petition to the local circuit court clerk. The clerk will date stamp your petition and issue you with a case number and a hearing date in front of a probate judge. A court hearing is mandatory for changing the name of a minor. You will also need to pay a filing fee at this time.
Attend your court hearing. The judge will decide if there is a basis for changing the child's name. If the judge is satisfied, she will sign the order allowing the name change. Take the signed order to the circuit court county clerk to be filed. You can also request certified copies of the order.