How to Legally Change Your Name in Massachusetts

By Brette Sember, J.D.

How to Legally Change Your Name in Massachusetts

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Massachusetts allows an adult to change their name for any reason as long as it is not for a fraudulent or illegal purpose. If you marry or divorce, your marriage certificate or divorce judgment are all you need to change your last name to or from your spouse's last name. In all other situations, you need to go through a court procedure at Probate and Family Court to change your name.

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Follow these steps to change your name in Massachusetts. Forms mentioned below can be found on the Mass.gov website.

1. Complete the Petition for Change of Name.

Obtain the form Petition for Change of Name online or at the court. Fill in your name and county at the top of the form, then, for sections 1 and 2, fill in your name, address, email, and phone. For section 3, indicate if you have previously changed your name. If so, provide the details and include a certified copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, and/or court order. For sections 4 and 5, list your new name and why you want to change to it. If you need an interpreter for your hearing, check the box in section 7. If you have an attorney, complete that section. Sign and date the form before a notary.

2. Complete the Court Activity Record Information form.

Obtain the Court Activity Record Information and Warrant Management System Release Request Form online or at the court. Fill in the county at the top and check the box for name change. Fill in your current name, date of birth, Social Security number, mother's maiden name, and any other names or aliases you have used.

3. Submit the forms.

Submit both forms, your certified birth certificate, and any other documents necessary (as determined as you filled in the form), along with the required fee to the Probate and Family Court in the county of your residence in person or by mail.

 

4. Publish the required notice.

While the court performs a criminal record check, you must publish the Citation for Publication in a local paper, according to the instructions on the Order of Notice you receive. Use certified mail and request a return receipt when you send the document to the newspaper.

After publication, send the court the original citation along with a clipping from the newspaper and the green receipt post-service postcard with your signature, certifying you mailed and published the notice.

5. Finalizing the name change.

Your case may be scheduled for a hearing, or your request may be approved without one. If the judge approves your request, you will receive a certificate from the court and the Register of Probate will issue a certificate with your new name. If a hearing is first needed—such as if there is a question about your reason for wanting to change your name or some indication you are doing it for a fraudulent reason—you will be notified of the date when you must appear.

Changing your name in Massachusetts is a relatively simple process that you can complete by submitting a few forms. If you prefer to get help with the process, you can use an online service provider to guide 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.