How to Legally Change Your Name in North Carolina

By David Carnes

In many states, you do not need to petition a court to change your name due to marriage, divorce or adoption -- you may simply use your marriage certificate, divorce decree or adoption decree to change your name on your identity documents. In North Carolina, however, you must file a petition with a state court to change your name. Nevertheless, the process is fairly straightforward. North Carolina places special restrictions on petitioners who wish to resume a former name.

Step 1

Copy documents that establish your residence in North Carolina. These may include a North Carolina drivers license, a non-driver's ID or a voter registration card.

Step 2

Obtain notarized affidavits of good character by two residents of your county. Since North Carolina law does not specify the contents of a letter of good character, ask the court clerk of the Superior Court sitting in the county of your residence what contents are required. Making a false statement in an affidavit can subject an affiant to criminal liability.

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Step 3

Post a written notice of your intent to change your name on the door of the Superior Court courthouse in the county of your residence. This notice must list your current name, your address, your desired new name and your intent to file a name change petition. This notice allows anyone who objects to your name change to notify the Superior Court clerk.

Step 4

File a name change petition with the Superior Court Clerk at least 10 days after you posted your notice of intent to change your name on the courthouse door. An adult must file this petition on behalf of a child under 18 years old. The petition must contain your current name, your desired new name, your reason for wanting to change your name, your date of birth, your county of birth, the full names of both your parents as they appear on their birth certificates, and a statement indicating whether you have ever previously legally changed your name. Include proof of North Carolina residence and your two good character affidavits. The filing fee varies by county. If the clerk approves your petition, he will issue you a certificate proving that your name has been legally changed.

Step 5

Use copies of your name change certificate to change identity documents such as your Social Security card, driver's license and passport. Your Social Security number will remain unchanged.

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