Missouri law allows you to change your name as long as you're not doing so to harm another person's interest. For example, if you're changing your name to avoid paying a bill, the court will not grant the order, as it's detrimental to the creditor. A name change in Missouri is handled through the circuit court of the Missouri county the person lives in. You must file a petition, attend a hearing and run a legal ad notifying persons of your desire to change your name to receive a name change order in the state.
Visit the Missouri Circuit Court of the county you live in. Ask the court clerk for the Petition for Name Change.
Complete the name change petition. You must enter your current name, the name you want and the exact reason you're changing it. Missouri law allows a judge to deny a name change if the change is for detrimental purposes, so clearly state your reason. You also need your birth date and place of birth, your parent's names -- including your mother's maiden name -- and your spouse and children's names if you're married or have children. File the petition. Fees for filing vary by county. The court will give you a hearing date either right after filing or by mail, depending on the county.
Attend the hearing. Judges ask questions about your reason for the name change in Missouri, so be prepared to explain why you're requesting a new name.
Contact a newspaper that is circulated in your county as soon as the order is granted. Tell the newspaper you want to run a legal notice of a name change. The newspaper will need your old name, new name, the name of the court that granted the order and order date. Schedule the notice to run at least three times within the next 20 days. The newspaper will notify the court once the ad has been run, and you will receive your final name change order in the mail.
Tips & Warnings
- If no newspaper is published in your county, you can use a newspaper in a county immediately next to yours. If no newspaper is published in the immediately adjacent county, use a newspaper in St. Louis City.
- The final order you receive can be used to change your name on other legal documents, such as your birth certificate and Social Security card.
- You don't have to run a notice if you're a victim of child abuse, domestic violence or abuse at the hands of a household member under Missouri law.
- You must disclose any prior name changes you've received on the petition, including the date and the name and location of the court that granted the change.
References & Resources
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images