Name Change

Name Change 2017-03-20T14:51:03+00:00

Can I get a name change for my child?

Maybe. Usually, a name change for a child is done to keep the child’s name the same as the custodial parent’s name when the child’s parents have separated or divorced. Only a parent, a managing conservator or a guardian of the child may file a lawsuit to change the child’s name. The court has discretion whether or not to grant the request to change the child’s name. Generally, courts are reluctant to change the name of the child, but may do so if it determines that it is in the child’s best interest. If the request is granted, the child may use his or her new name for all legal purposes. A father does not have a constitutional right to have his child bear his last name. A parent’s interest and desire to change a child’s name is not the primary reason to have the child’s name changed.

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When can a child’s name be changed?

The name change petition for a child can be filed at any time before the child becomes 18 years old, gets married or has the disabilities of minority removed. Once any of those events occurs, the child is then considered an adult, and the rules for a change of name for an adult apply.

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How do I try to get a name change for a child?

A lawsuit to change the child’s name must be filed in the county where the child resides. It must state (1) the child’s present name and place of residence, (2) why the name change is requested, and (3) the new full name requested for the child. If the child is at least 10 years old, the child’s written consent must be attached to the petition. The petition must be verified. The citation and the petition must be served on the following people: (1) the parent of the child whose parental rights have not been terminated, (2) any managing conservator of the child, and (3) any guardian of the child.

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Can an adult get a name change?

Generally, courts grant the request to change the name of an adult, but may not do so if the purpose for the name change is wrongful, fraudulent or for some capricious purpose. Once the name change is granted, the adult may use his or her new name for all legal purposes. Any adult can file a petition to have his or her name changed. There is no time limit to do so. The name change request must be filed in the county where the adult resides.

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What needs to be done to get an adult name change?

A lawsuit must be filed and state (1) the petitioner’s present full legal name, place of residence, and whether he or she has been the subject of a final felony conviction; (2) the petitioner’s sex, race, date of birth, identification numbers and other numbers showing if the petitioner has a criminal history, (3) why the name change is requested; (4) the new full name requested by the petitioner, and (5) other allegations about whether the petitioner has been convicted of certain offenses and is required to register as a sex offender. It must include a legible and complete set of the petitioner’s fingerprints on a fingerprint card format acceptable to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI. The petition must be verified.

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