How to Legally Change a Name in New Mexico

by Beverly Bird

    Legally changing your name in New Mexico is a straightforward and simple process. You need only be 14 years of age to change your name in the state, even without a parent’s permission. The process involves several steps, but none of them are particularly challenging.

    Step 1

    Go to the newspaper with the largest circulation in your county. If your county doesn’t have a newspaper, you can use one in a neighboring county. Ask the legal department to run a notice alerting the public that you want to change your name. Newspaper personnel can guide you as to what information you should include, but it generally involves your current name, the new name you want to take and contact information for the county court where you will be filing the name change. Run the notice once a week for two weeks.

    Step 2

    Write a petition to the court. Identify your case at the top of the page by giving the name of your county, your name, the words “In re: Change of Name of Adult,” your existing name and the name you want to change to. Beneath that, in numbered paragraphs, state when and where you were born, your birth name and any other names you’ve ever used, your address, your parents’ names and addresses, and the reasons why you want to change your name. State whether or not anyone has any monetary judgments against you or if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Attest that the contents of your petition are true and make a signature line for both you and a notary public.

    Step 3

    Take two copies of your completed petition, a photo ID and proof of your newspaper notice to the district court clerk in your county. Don’t sign your petition ahead of time; do it at the clerk's office so someone can notarize your signature. You will need cash or a money order to pay the filing fee because the courts do not accept personal checks or credit cards. Call ahead to find out what the fee is in your county. File all your paperwork with the clerk.

    Step 4

    Ask the clerk for a hearing date when you file your petition. Depending on your county, you might have to go to another court office to schedule the date yourself.

    Step 5

    Appear in court on the scheduled date for a hearing where the judge will either grant or deny your request. If no one objected to your name-change notice after you ran it in the newspaper, the judge will ask you a few questions to make sure you’re not changing your name for fraudulent purposes. If he approves your reasons for changing your name, he’ll give you an order allowing it.

    Tips & Warnings

    • If you can’t afford the filing fee for your petition, ask the clerk for a fee waiver form. If your income is law enough that you qualify, you may be able to avoid paying it.
    • After you have your order, you must change your name with government agencies. Go to a Social Security office first; changes with other agencies must match up with the Social Security number assigned to your new name. New Mexico gives you only 10 days from the date of the order to change the name on your driver’s license, and it may take a few days for the change to go through with the Social Security Administration, so get started on the process right away.

    About the Author

    Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images