Divorce, remarriage or adoption are a few legitimate reasons for changing a baby's last name. Depending on the individual circumstance and local court system, changing a baby's last name may be a lengthy process taking two months or longer to acquire the official name change decree from the court. In addition to this, it may take up to three months to receive a new birth certificate and Social Security Number after applying for updated records.
Contact a lawyer. A lawyer will be familiar with the laws and procedures required to complete the name change in your particular state. For a fee, he or she will handle all the details including completing necessary paperwork, notarizing documents and filing the documents with the court. The lawyer will be your contact and keep you apprised of the progress, but will handle all of the work associated with the legal name change.
If you have decided to complete the name change without a lawyer, contact your local county court to determine the requirements. A representative at the court will navigate you to the proper forms that must be completed and filed with the court. The court representative will also be able to instruct you on the overall process of a name change including all steps that must be completed and expected time frame.
Complete the initial form, sometimes called Petition for a Name Change, and have it notarized. Depending on the specific situation and state where the name change is taking place, there may an official notice that must be sent to the other parent or residency requirements that must be met before the name change can be completed. Once specifications have been determined, complete the petition, sign the document in front of a notary public and have her notarize it before submitting it to the court along with the original birth certificate. A notary may be found at postal businesses, such as the UPS Store, as well as your local bank or library.
Publish a Notice of Petition. Once publicly published, this document provides anyone who has an objection to the name change a deadline for filing a petition against it. This may be published in the county newspaper by the court or you may be personally responsible for publishing it in the paper one time, at least 15 days prior to the deadline for filing a petition. Upon publication, receive a certificate of publication from the newspaper and file it with the court.
Receive the Order for a Name Change. Once all steps have been completed, the petition will be forwarded to a judge. If all items have been properly completed and there are no objections to the name change, the judge will sign the form granting the legal name change.
Contact the local Social Security Administration office to complete an application for a new Social Security card. Include all original or certified documents when applying for a Social Security card; all documents will be returned.
Contact the Department of Health, Office of Vital Records for the state in which the baby was born to change the name that appears on the birth certificate. Submit the completed form, in addition to any supporting documents that are required, to receive a revised certificate.