Obtaining a legal name change in court does not automatically change the name on your birth record. Why you might want to change your name. In general, however, any lawful reason that does not violate any state laws or infringe upon the rights of anyone else typically satisfies most courts, whether that reason be for religious, personal or social reasons. Parents want the child to identify as a part of the new family. Note for residents of Allegheny or Lancaster Counties: Our documents are designed to meet state requirements for requesting a name change. Legally change your child's name before they turn 18 in person by booking an interview appointment or by post. For each child 12 to 18 years of age A letter handwritten in ink by your child(ren) providing his/her reasons for wanting a change of name. Consult with the child's other parent. To add to his cruelty, he told her that their first child (me) had been named by him after this other woman. I changed my name as fast as I legally could.” ― Brooke C. Because I Was Sick Of Being Teased About My ‘Hippie’ Name “I changed my first name when I was over 40 years old. If any of the children are 14 or older, each child must complete a consent. Often if one of the child’s parents is absent from the child’s life, the child will not have a strong connection to the name and hence, the child may request a name change of his/her own accord.   A judge would decide whether or not to grant a child’s request. In a divorce petition, when a women requests to return to her maiden name, she can request a separate petition to request her child's name change too. The reason the petitioning parent states for the proposed change; The motive of the petitioning parent and the possibility the child's use of a different name will cause insecurity or a lack of identity; The difficulty, harassment, or embarrassment the child may experience if the child bears a surname different than that of the custodial parent; Child's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf) Child's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf fillable) Order for Child's Name Change - required. Perhaps they'd prefer something more unique than Britney or Ashley or something less unique than a homespun name that combined parents' names. Lawyers suggest beginning with your strongest argument and sticking to the reasons that have a factual basis without clouding your presentation with irrelevant statements. It might be in the child's best interests to change his or her name. The age and ability of the child to understand the significance of changing his or her name. The child had the surname of the father (Pappel) and the mother applied to have the child’s name changed to her new husband’s last name (Bergen). For example it might be difficult to convince a judge to change the name of a 15-year-old unless his best interest clearly would be served by the change. Dislike Current Name. If a mother with sole custody divorces the natural father and remarries, a judge is likely to favor changing the child’s surname to that of the stepfather if other factors support the change. A change of name costs $190.90. My Brother in Law did not change his name, per se, when he became a citizen. Changing your child's name is a significant personal choice for you and your child. A father who might have been absent for a child's earlier years might return to a child's life and develop a strong bond with the child. Historically, paternity was usually the deciding factor: The child used the father's surname. Name change generally refers to the legal act by a person of adopting a new name different from their current name.. Fill out a Petition for Change of Name. These reasons could be for adoption, domestic violence, and more. The most common reasons for name changes include marriage or divorce. Make sure you register the new name and get a new birth certificate. Parents should consult a legal professional in their state for information on changing the name of a minor child after birth. Parent's Consent to Child's Name Change (pdf fillable) A child age 14 or older must consent to their own name change. However, if there is no concrete reason to change the child's name, besides animosity, there's a strong chance that a judge would not grant this type of minor name change request. It is important to recognize that after a name change, you are still the same person. Some lawyers advise limiting your arguments to the three strongest points, while addressing issues that might contradict your case in a factual manner. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. On the other hand, most courts consider the length of time a child has used a certain surname and lean against changing a name when it has been used for a long time. If changing a child’s name would cause a break in a parent-child relationship, courts tend to rule against the change. A child’s legal name will be the name on their birth certificate which is used for legal, administrative and official purposes. The county you live in. Parents may seek a minor name change for their child for a variety of reasons. To change a child’s name, you must start a separate case in district court. For school, single mom’s want to have their child’s last name be the same  as their own last name Most states and judges require that both parents agree before they will change a child's name. Each child 12-18 must also sign in Part 2A - Child's Consent. I’d thought about it for a long time, having always disliked my given name. It must state all of these: Your current legal name and the name you want. She was an editor at daily newspapers for 20 years and now works as a paralegal. The procedures and ease of a name change vary between jurisdictions. For example, the child has been known by the given name for a significant period of time and not changing the child's registered … After finalizing the adoption, the last name of the child is legally changed to match that of the adopting family. You must clearly present reasons to the court in a written petition, oral arguments or both. Her reasoning is that Hussein is a very important name to Muslims and that by renouncing his Muslim Heritage he should change his name so as to not give credence to their beliefs. Deciding on a name Most names can be registered but not all. You must: 1. 1. If a change of name is approved, the new name as indicated on the legal change of name document will be recorded as the primary name in IRCC’s system of record and will be the name that appears on any new document(s) issued by IRCC. If you have religious, philosophical or cultural reasons to have only one name, you need to include a letter of explanation with your application. Jessica Peterson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images, Absent Father Returns to the Child's Life, 6 Common Questions about Child Custody and Visitation. Leaving the Past Behind Whether you want to cut ties with your family of origin because of abuse or a falling out, or you want to take your stepfather’s surname but your biological father wouldn’t permit it when you were a child, changing your name gives you the freedom to be who you want to be. For example, if a child is known by the surname of a father who has been convicted of serious crimes, the argument can be made that the child would be better off using another name. Also if a parent remarries and a stepparent is adopting a child, both the child's parent and the stepparent can request a name change in court. Changing your family name after marriage, separation or divorce. If the Name Change is for a child and one parent formally objects, the judge has a harder decision. Here are some of the most popular reasons people decide to change their names. This is the form the judge signs to grant the child's name change. If the other parent will not agree, you may still ask the court for a change and explain your reasons at a hearing. The standard most courts apply when making decisions about changing a child’s name is that the change should be in the best interests of the child. Here are some reasons why a parent might pursue a minor name change after birth. A name change request can come about simply because a person doesn't like his or her name as given at birth. You will still have all the same legal responsibilities and obligations; you will simply be known by a different name. The fact that a child is known to schools and doctors by a certain name could contribute to a decision to keep that name. The general consensus is that a child should have the same name as the family he lives with. The court can authorize a change of name for a child in the case of abandonment by the father or mother, in the case of deprivation of parental authority or in the case of a change of filiation, for example by adoption. To register a change of name for your child (under 18 years) both parents must complete the application. Depending on how the birth parent and t… Find out what you need to do to have your new married name recognised or change your name back to your previous name. Changing your child's name. Legal Name Change. Safety and protection concerns might justify a change of a child's name. A judge would give strong consideration to this request, as the court's main concern is the best interests of the child. See “How Do I get a Court Ordered Name Change for a Minor”, below. A parent might request a name change for a minor child to protect the child from potential harm. The specific guidelines courts take into consideration vary from state to state, but the overriding factor in determining the best interest of the child is determining what fosters the natural bond between the child and his parents and maintains family unity. For example, a name change may be granted where a parent has committed a notorious crime in the community and the child suffers harassment because of bearing his or her parents' surname. To argue in favor of a name change, you must show that the change will preserve the family unit. However, if either parent objects to the name change, the court will try the case to determine whether the name change is in the child's best interest. Pennsylvania Name Change Requirements. How to change your child's name. You can change all or part of your child’s name. She has edited several books and her work has been published in The Knoxville News-Sentinel, The Springfield Daily News, The Georgetown Times and Natural Awakenings magazine. Terminating Visitation Due to Incarceration, How to Change a Baby's Last Name in Tennessee, Northwestern Legal Services: Name Change in Pennsylvania for Minor Children, Florida Bar Journal: Determining the Best Interest of the Child: The Resolution of Name Disputes in Paternity Actions, Nina E. Kallen: Oral Arguments: Tips and a Tale, Rhode Island Divorce, Child Custody & Family Law Info Center: RI Paternity and Custody: Name Change of Child, Marital Litigation in South Carolina: Roy T. Stuckey. While courts will consider the wishes of a child who is of the age and maturity to establish a legitimate preference, many judges give the wishes of the parents more weight. When a family adopts a child, changing the child's last name to match that of the family just makes sense. If a child is adopted, an adoptive parent will probably want to change the child's name to his/her own family name. If the father and mother agree to the name change, the court will usually hold a hearing to confirm that the child wants his name changed, and the name change will be approved. Valid reasons for a name change may include professional reasons, in honor of a deceased loved one or the parents simply changed their mind after legally naming the child and would like to have their preferred selection legally recognized. To argue for the name change of a minor child, you must address the factors considered by the court. However, most modern courts consider a specific list of factors in determining what is best for the child, as opposed to the parents, when ruling on name changes. In that case, the father proved that it would not be in the child’s best interests to have a complete change of last name. In general, common law jurisdictions have loose procedures for a name change while civil law jurisdictions are more restrictive. Marriage is a common reason that parents seek a legal surname change for a minor child. Reasons for a Name Change.