Whether you're changing the name of your newly adopted child or changing your childrens' names after a divorce, changing a minor's name in Massachusetts is not significantly different from changing your own name. Before you file the paperwork, you'll need to present a birth certificate for the minor. Obtain a Massachusetts name change form from the Probate Court in your county by visiting the clerk's office.
Fill out the name change form on behalf of the minor child. Complete the child's address information, birthplace and birth name information, parental information and reasons for the name change.
Massachusetts forbids name changes for the purposes of avoiding a debt or defrauding others.
Call the Probate Court clerk's office in your county. Locate the court by using your telephone directory or the directory of Massachusetts Probate Courts. Send the paperwork into the court via mail. Keep copies of all documents for your records.
Schedule a hearing for a name change. Show up at the Probate Court on the appointed day with the true copy of the minor child's birth certificate plus your identification. You'll need it to prove your identity to the court.
Inform the judge presiding over the hearing of your intent to change the child's name. The judge will review the filed paperwork and approve or deny the minor's name change request. If approved, she will advise you to publish notification of the name change in a local newspaper by a certain date before the name change can be enacted.
Publish the required legal notice of this name change in the paper by the set date. The court will send you legal notice of which local paper you need to publish in. Obtain a copy of the published notice and send this to the court. Once you've provided proof of compliance, the court will grant the name change and send you the legal proof.
You will need to pay to publish the legal notice in the newspaper. Fees vary widely by newspaper.
In 2010, the filing fee for legal name changes in Massachusetts was $165.