I cannot answer this question as it applies in all jurisdictions, but I can answer the question as it applies in the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (Utah):
Here are the applicable Utah Code sections:
42-1-1. By petition to district court — Contents.
Any natural person, desiring to change his name, may file a petition therefor in the district court of the county where he resides, setting forth:
(1) The cause for which the change of name is sought.
(2) The name proposed.
(3) That he has been a bona fide resident of the county for the year immediately prior to the filing of the petition.
42-1-2. Notice of hearing — Order of change.
The court shall order what, if any, notice shall be given of the hearing, and after the giving of such notice, if any, may order the change of name as requested, upon proof in open court of the allegations of the petition and that there exists proper cause for granting the same.
42-1-3. Effect of proceedings.
Such proceedings shall in no manner affect any legal action or proceeding then pending, or any right, title or interest whatsoever.
That seems fairly easy, right? I agree, it does seem easy (it deceptively seems easy), and if all you needed to do was go by what the Utah Code says is required of you to get a name change, you’d be right. But for reasons I do not understand, there are many “unwritten rules” governing a name change in Utah, whether for an adult or a minor child. Otherwise stated, if all you did was:
- file a petition in the court stating:
- the cause for which the change of name is sought;
- the name proposed;
- that you or your minor child have/has been a bona fide resident of the county for the year immediately prior to the filing of the petition.
- schedule the hearing on the petition;
- prove three allegations that you were required to make in the petition;
- prove that there exists “proper cause” (whatever that means) for granting the petition for change of name;
that should be all you need to do, according to the Utah Code. But if that is all you did, there is a good chance your petition would be denied. So what are the “unwritten rules” you need to abide by to get a name change for yourself or your minor child? A good place to find out is here:
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277