Name Change for a Minor in Minnesota

by David Carnes

A guardian or next of kin, such as a parent, must petition for a name change on behalf of a minor. The process is not exceptionally difficult and, in most cases, can be completed without the assistance of an attorney. Although Minnesota name change statutes are state law, requirements may vary slightly according to county because different counties may interpret Minnesota statutes differently.

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Step 1

Download a minor name change application packet from the website of the Minnesota Judicial branch. This packet contains an Application for Name Change of a Minor, a Proposed Order Granting Name Change of a Minor and a Criminal History Check Release for Name Change of a Minor.

Step 2

Complete the Application for Name Change of a Minor. You must list your name, your relationship with the minor, the county in which the minor lives, minor's birth date, current address, current name and proposed new name of minor. You must also list the names and addresses of the minor's parent or parents who are not filing the name change application. Finally, you must list details of the minor's criminal record, if any, and you must provide a legal description of any land in Minnesota in which the minor may have a property interest. Sign the form in the presence of a notary public. The minor must also sign it in the presence of a notary public if he is at least 14 years old.

Step 3

Fill in the Proposed Order Granting Name Change of a Minor. This document requires much of the same information required on the Application for Name Change for a Minor. You do not have to sign this document -- the judge will sign it if he approves the name change petition.

Step 4

Complete the Criminal History Check Release for Name Change of a Minor if she will be at least 10 years old by the application date. You must list her full name, any other names she has been known by, her birth date, gender and race. Although you must sign the application, your signature does not have to be notarized. This document gives law enforcement agencies the right to provide the court with information about the minor's criminal history. If the minor has a criminal history, the court may become concerned that her name is being changed for fraudulent purposes, such as to avoid prosecution or to conceal a criminal record.

Step 5

Copy the application documents for your records.

Step 6

Submit the application packet to the district court in the county where the minor lives, along with the appropriate filing fee. The filing fee varies by county. The court administrator will notify you of the date and time of the name change hearing.

Step 7

Notify the minor's parents of the name change application along with the place, date and time of the hearing. Different counties apply different requirements -- some counties require you to notify the parents by certified mail, while others require that you arrange for a Minnesota state official to personally present the parents with written notification. If you are the child's parent, you must formally notify the other parent even if he already knows of the application.

Step 8

Obtain a copy of documentation establishing your authority to change the minor's name -- her birth certificate if you are a parent or her guardianship papers if you are her legal guardian.

Step 9

Attend the hearing. Bring the minor's birth certificate or guardianship papers. Bring the minor and at least two adult witnesses who have known the minor for at least one year. If both parents attend the hearing, you only need one adult witness. The judge will question you, the minor, the parents and the witnesses. He may ask to see proof that you have the authority to apply for a name change. If he approves your petition, he will sign the proposed order.