When the structure of your family or the individuals who are there for your children change over time, you might find yourself wishing to alter the name of your child. Situations like divorce, adoption or remarriage can impact your kids' family members, and names can have significant psychological impacts over the course of a person's lifetime. Fortunately, a child name change is fairly straightforward, provided the proper permissions are obtained and documentation is presented appropriately. In Texas, the name change process for a child requires a filed petition and authorization from all parents or guardians and, in some instances, the child herself.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
With permission of all parents or guardians who have parental rights and, in some instances, the child himself, it is possible to file a petition requesting a child's name be changed in Texas.
Child Name Change in Texas
If you are hoping to change the name of your child in Texas, a petition to that effect must be served on each parent or guardian of the child, unless parental rights have been terminated. In addition, a Petition for the Change of Name of a Child requires a variety of information, including the following: the child’s current residence, the reason for the request, the new full name as requested, information about any previous court orders, if the child is required to register as a sex offender and, if the child is 10 years of age or older, the child’s written consent to the change of name.
While unusual, if the child is required to register as a sex offender, it is still possible to change her name. However, this requires that the person petitioning on her behalf illustrate how the change is in the public’s interest and prove that local law enforcement has been informed.
After a court approves the change of child’s name, it’s imperative that the parents also report the change to the Social Security Administration and obtain a corrected Social Security card for their child. You can obtain a proof of name change certificate for a small fee to assist in the name change process with banks and other accounts. In addition, if the child has been involved in a custody or child support scenario, you will need to report his name change to all relevant agencies. Parents or guardians can do this by sending a document called the Order for Change of Name to the Central Record File at the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Birth Certificate Paternity Changes
You might wonder whether a father’s name can be removed from a birth certificate in Texas. According to the Texas State Department of State Health Services, you will need to first complete an Application for New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage. This must be signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public in order to be considered valid. However, if the paternity of your child has been established by a court decree, only one parent is required to sign this application with a notary present.
Once the application is completed, you will need to mail it, along with a $25 payment, to the Texas Department of Vital Statistics in Austin. Along with this mailing, it’s required that you enclose an acknowledgement of paternity, a certified copy of any relevant court decree or a certified copy of a marriage license between the mother and father that is dated after the child’s birth.
Other Birth Certificate Changes
To change a name on a birth certificate in Texas, you will need to submit to the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics the entire court order outlining the legal change of your child's name. When you submit this information, you will need to pay a fee of $15 to file the amendment and an additional fee of $22 to order a certified copy of the birth certificate containing the new name. If you are changing a child’s last name to that of her biological father, the name change process might be slightly different, as outlined above.
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