How to Legally Change a Child's Last Name

By David Carnes

Unless you wish to change the last name of a child you are adopting, you will need a court order to change either the first or last name of a minor child. Name changes are governed by state law, and these laws vary somewhat from state to state. Courts require an acceptable reason before they will grant a name change.

Step 1

Research your state's name change law. If the district court's website does not include name change instructions, consult with the district court clerk or look up your state's name change statute on the Internet or in a law library.

Step 2

Assemble proof of your state residence, if the name change law of your state requires such documentation. A state drivers' license or state ID is usually sufficient to establish residence. If the child lives with you, you probably will not have to assemble proof of residence for your child.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More

Step 3

Obtain and complete a name change petition. Name change petitions should be available on the district court website or through the district court clerk. Some states require you to draft your own petition. These states describe in their name change statutes the information they require. Required information typically includes your name and address, the child's name and address, and the name and address of the child's other parent. You also have to state your reason for wanting to change your child's name.

Step 4

File your name change petition -- along with proof of state residence if required -- with the clerk of the district court with jurisdiction over the county of your residence, and pay the filing fee. The court will notify you of the date of the name change hearing if one is required. A few states do not require hearings unless someone objects to the name change.

Step 5

Publish notice of your intent to change the child's name, along with the place and time of the hearing, in the manner required by your state. Most states require you to publish a notice in the classified section of the local newspaper. Obtain a receipt from the newspaper.

Step 6

Attend the name change hearing. Your child may or may not be required to attend. Bring a government-issued photo ID and your newspaper receipt. The judge may question you, and he may question anyone who attends the hearing in order to object to the name change. If your petition is granted, the court will order the name change and issue you a certified copy of the order.

Step 7

Change the name on your child's birth certificate if state law permits, using the court order as evidence of the name change. Most states allow the amendment of birth certificates only for certain purposes -- if the biological father was incorrectly identified on the original birth certificate, for example.

Step 8

Amend any other identity documents your child possesses, such as a Social Security card. Despite the name change, your child's Social Security number will remain the same.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More
How to Change a Child's Name in Texas



Related articles

How to Legally Change Your Name in San Diego County

If you are an adult residing in San Diego, California, you can legally change your name, but you’ll need to follow specific procedures to obtain a court order authorizing the name change. Once approved, you must report your name change to the Social Security Administration and the DMV as well as your banks, creditors and other interested parties. Some secondary schools and colleges may require a copy of the court decree to update your transcripts and other school records. You can obtain the required forms and file them on your own, use the services of an online legal document provider or seek the assistance of a local attorney.

How to Change a Legal Name in Oklahoma

Oklahoma recognizes three procedures for changing a name. If you want to change your name due to marriage or divorce, you only need to present your marriage or divorce certificate to the authorities who issued your identity documents, such as your driver's license or Social Security card, and obtain replacements. If you adopt a child in Oklahoma, the court that granted the adoption will forward the adoption papers to the office of vital records in the state where the child was born so it can amend the child's birth certificate. If you desire a name change for any other reason, however, you will need to petition an Oklahoma district court.

How to Legally Change Your Middle Name

Most states recognize an inherent right to change your name for non-fraudulent purposes. If you want to change your last name due to marriage, divorce, or adoption, most states do not require a court. Most states do, however, require a court order to change your middle name. Although the laws of the various states differ on the procedure, certain principles are common to every state. Consult the law of your state for the exact procedure.

Doing the right thing has never been easier. Name Change

Related articles

How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

Name changes for an adult in Ohio are made in the probate court of the county the person lives in. You must file an ...

How to Change a Baby's Last Name Legally

Changing your baby's name is typically a simple process if both parents agree to the new name. Exact state requirements ...

Laws Regarding Children's Names After a Divorce in Oregon

After a divorce, you may want to change your child's name. In Oregon, the procedure for changing a child's name can be ...

How to Change a Kid's Last Name

Changing a child's last name is often done as part of another matter, such as a paternity or adoption proceeding. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED