To change your child's last name you must petition the court for a legal name change. Petitions are filed with the county court in the county in which you reside. The exact documents and forms needed are determined by each individual court. You can find specific details for your situation on your local court system's website or by contacting them directly. In most cases, there are a few general forms that are required to change your child's last name.
Petition for Change of Name
A Petition for Change of Name must be filed with the court. The petition typically states the current name, proposed new name, age of the child, person requesting the change and information regarding the reasons for the name change. Blank forms are available on many county court websites.
Legal Custody or Guardianship Papers
If the name change is being requested by only one parent or by a legal guardian, court documents outlining the relationship to the child may be required. If there is a chance that the name change may be disputed by the other biological parent, you might want to consider legal representation.
Signed Court Order
Once the name change has been approved and signed by the judge, the parent or guardian requesting the name change will receive a signed court order. The court order will state the child's new legal last name. The parent may use this court order to change the child's last name on birth records, school records, medical records, Social Security records and birth certificates.
Birth Certificate Correction
A court-ordered name change will not change birth records. You must submit the court order to the county department of public health to change the birth record. If you only need to correct a birth certificate due to spelling or typographical errors, a court order may not be necessary.