How to Legally Change Your Last Name in Kentucky

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

How to Legally Change Your Last Name in Kentucky

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

If you're a resident of Kentucky and you want to change your last name or your child's last name as a matter of personal preference or as a result of a marriage or divorce, you can generally do so if you follow these procedures.

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Changing an Adult's Name

If you're over the age of 18, the process for changing your name is relatively simple. You must file a Petition for Name Change Form (AOC-295) with your county's circuit court clerk.

The form asks to provide your original name, your desired name, your birth date and location, current residence, and the reason you want to change your name. If you're changing your name to reflect changes in family circumstances or as a matter of preference, the court will not likely have a problem granting your petition. Changing your name to escape creditors or evade the law, however, is prohibited. You also can't change your name if the change is merely part of an attempt to defraud someone.

After filling out the form, you must get the petition notarized. Next, you take the form to the circuit clerk's office for the county in which you reside. You need to pay applicable filing fees, and fees vary by county. Your form is then processed by the court clerk and forwarded to a judge for ruling on the petition.

If the court grants your petition, the court will issue a decree of name change. This certified document is proof of your name change. You then need to contact other government offices and change your name on other legal documents, such as your social security card, passport, and driver's license. You must first request a new social security card through the Social Security Administration (SSA), as you need your new social security card prior to changing your driver's license.

Under Kentucky law, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of changing your name. To get a new license, you must show the DMV proof of your name change in the form of your court order. You must also provide your new social security card to prove that you have already updated your name with the SSA.

If you're requesting a name change in connection with a marriage, you can skip the above petition process and simply request the name change on your marriage license application. A certified copy of your marriage certificate is then used as proof of your name change.

Changing a Minor's Name

If you're seeking to change a minor's name, the process is more complicated. You must file the same Petition for Name Change Form (AOC-295), but you need to state that you are filing on behalf of a minor. If both parents consent to the name change, they can each sign the form as petitioners. If one parent does not consent to the name change or is unavailable to sign the petition, the petitioning parent must give proper legal notice to the opposing or unavailable parent to allow them to object to the change in court. The petitioning parent must give notice to the other parent by certified mail or personal service.

If one of the parents does not consent to the name change, the court holds a hearing. The court considers both sides and the reasons for the name change, and issues a ruling either approving or denying the petition.

Although it may be your first time changing yours or your child's name, name changes in Kentucky are common and you can use a legal service provider with experience preparing name change documentation to help you through the process.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.