Petition for Change of Name

 
Petition for Change of Name - Adult
Petition for Change of Name - Minor
Petition for Change of Name - Family

 Petition for Change of Name – Adult

Persons 18 and older seeking to change their name may do so by filing a Petition for Change of Name. The Petition must state important facts required by law in order for a name change to be granted. Generally the Petition must describe who you are, where you live, why you are seeking the change and whether the name change is being made in good faith and without intent to defraud creditors. This form is available for download at the end of the Litigant Awareness program. Most lawyers will file a Petition for Change of Name for a modest fee. If you have limited money to spend, you may also ask a lawyer to help you with part of the process, such as drafting the Petition, reviewing the Petition after you complete it, appearing in court at a hearing or helping you with publication. Court rules allow a lawyer to help a party with certain specific tasks without handling the entire case for a party. This is called Limited Scope Representation. A lawyer providing limited representation usually will charge a fixed fee or charge by the hour.


The steps include:

1. Filing of a verified Petition;

2. Possible hearing;

3. Entry of Judgment; and

4. Publication


How to File a Petition for Change of Name

A Petition for Change of Name must be verified before it can be filed. This means you must swear or affirm the truth of the facts in the Petition. Then you must sign the Petition under oath before a notary. Most banks have notaries that can do this for a small fee.


The Petition must be filed in the circuit court in the county where you live.


How much will it cost to file?

Filing fees vary depending on the type of case. Filing fee information may be posted online or you may obtain this information from the court clerk at your local courthouse.


What if I cannot afford the filing fee?

The court may waive the filing fees. If you cannot afford the court filing fee, you may file an application asking the fees be waived. This sometimes is called In Forma Pauperis (in the manner of a poor person). You will have to provide the court with detailed financial information under oath so the judge can decide if you are eligible for a waiver. The form is available for download after the completion of the Litigant Awareness Program and also may be obtained from the court clerk.


What happens after filing?

In most cases, if the verified Petition is filed properly, there is no need for a Petitioner to appear in court for a hearing. However, you must check with the court clerk in your circuit to see if an appearance is required. Once the Petition is reviewed and approved by the court, the court will issue a judgment changing the name.


Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order from a court of competent jurisdiction changing the name of a person born in this state and upon request of such person or such person's parents, guardian, or legal representative, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Statistics shall amend the certificate of birth to show the new name. The court order shall include such facts as are necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the person whose name is being changed.


Publication

Upon receipt of the judgment, the petitioner must make public notice of the name change at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which they live. In addition, proof of said notice must be filed in the Office of the Clerk (in some courts this is the Court Administrator's Office) within 10 days after the date of the last publication. It is in your interest to publish your name change or it may be ineffective.


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 Petition for Name Change – Minor

Changing the name of a minor is more complicated and requires additional steps. The following basic steps will help you understand the court process when seeking a name change on behalf of a minor.


The steps include:

1. Filing of verified Petition;

2. Written notarized consent (agreement) of both known parents or service on non-consenting parent;

3. Petition for Appointment of Next Friend;

4. Written notarized consent of the child, if age 14 or older,

    • To the name change, and

    • To the appointment of next friend;

5. Possible Hearing;

6. Entry of Judgment; and

7. Publication.


Filing the Petition

A child, through a next friend, may file a Petition for name change with the written notarized consent of both parents. The Petition must state important facts required by law in order for a name change to be rendered. Generally, the Petition must contain basic information about each parent, the child(ren), why the name change is being sought and whether the name change is in the child(ren)'s best interest. This form is available for download upon completion of the Litigant Awareness Program.


Petition for Appointment of Next Friend

This is a formalized request to the court to act on a behalf of a minor child(ren) and is available for download from this site at the conclusion of this Litigant Awareness program. The next friend is usually the child’s physical custodian.

 

Consent

In the state of Missouri, changing the name of a minor requires written, notarized consent (agreement) of each known parent. This written consent must be filed along with the Petition for name change. If the written consent of both parents is not available, service on the non-consenting party will be necessary. A child age 14 or older must provide written notarized consents to the name change and to the person appointed as next friend.


Service

If the written consent of each known parent is not filed, a copy of the Petition together with a notice stating the date of the hearing shall be served on each non-consenting, known parent not less than 30 days before the date of the hearing. The service shall be by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address of the non-consenting parent. Service shall be proved by the certificate of the court Clerk that a mailed copy of the Petition and notice has been sent by registered or certified mail.

 

Hearing

In most cases, name changes involving minors require an appearance by the parties in court. Some courts will issue a notice of hearing, which tells you when and where to appear. It is important that you check with your local court to see what their requirements are. If a hearing is required, you could ask an attorney to appear for you for a modest fee. Court rules allow an attorney to help parties with certain limited tasks.

 

Publication – Minor

As with adults, the change of name of a minor is conditioned upon proper publication. Upon receipt of the judgment, the petitioner must make public notice of the name change at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the minor(s) live. In addition, proof of said notice must be filed in the Office of the Circuit Clerk (in some courts this is the Court Administrator’s Office) within 10 days after the date of the last publication.

 

Change of Name on Birth Certificate

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Statistics will amend the birth certificate to show the new name of person born in Missouri when that person, or that person’s parents, guardian or legal representative makes a request and provides a certified copy of the name change judgment.


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 Petition for Name Change – Family

Parents and minor children may join in a Petition for change of name and the Petition shall include all information required of the parents (see Petition for Change of Name – Individual above) and the name of the minor children may be changed at the discretion of the court. This is designed to allow one Petition to take the place of several where an entire family is seeking a change of name.


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