How to Legally Change Your Name in Massachusetts

by Anna Assad
    County courts handle name changes in Massachusetts.

    County courts handle name changes in Massachusetts.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    You can change your name in Massachusetts for any reason that is considered valid by the courts. Name change petitions are handled through the Probate and Family Court of the county you live in. The judge has the right to deny a name change if he decides the request isn't for legitimate purposes, such as attempting to hide from a creditor.

    Step 1

    Get a certified copy of your birth certificate. Visit the official website of the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services to view the options for getting a copy.

    Step 2

    Visit the Probate and Family Court in your Massachusetts county of residence. Ask for a change of name petition.

    Step 3

    Complete the petition. Formats vary by Massachusetts county, but all require the following information under state law: your legal name, address, date of birth and birthplace. Use your full name; you can't use initials. State the reason for the name change on the labeled spot on the petition.

    Step 4

    Attach the certified copy of your birth certificate to the petition. File the petition in the Family and Probate Court; filing fees differ by county. The court will notify you of a hearing date by mail.

    Step 5

    Attend the hearing. Go over your reasons for the name change before attending the hearing, as the judge has the right to ask you questions about the change before granting the order.

    Things Needed

    • Change of name petition
    • Filing fee payment
    • Certified birth certificate copy

    Tips & Warnings

    • Visit the Massachusetts Court System's official website to view a listing of court locations by county.
    • If changing the name of a child under 18, complete the name change petition but include the names, birth dates and birthplaces of the child on the petition. Check the court rules for the wording you must use, as you note you're presenting the petition on behalf of a minor child on the form. Both parents must give consent; if not, you must follow the court rules for notifying the other parent.
    • Some Massachusetts counties require you run a legal notice in a local newspaper detailing the name change before or after you file the petition. Check the court's rules and instructions to see if you must run a notice and for how long. You may be allowed to file a form requesting a waiver of the legal notice requirements.
    • Some counties run criminal background checks on persons filing a name change petition; your name change can be denied based on the results.

    About the Author

    Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images