How to Publish a Petition for a Name Change

By George Lawrence J.D.
Publish name-change notices and petitions in a local newspaper that circulates regularly, usually at least once a week.

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The law allows adults to change their names or the names of their children, provided the name change is not for an illegal purpose. For example, a person cannot change his name if he is trying to avoid owning up to debt obligations. To provide notice to creditors and the public in general, some states require people to publish information about the name change in a local newspaper.

File a petition for change of name in your local county court. The court will delay a hearing, providing people, including creditors, with a chance to object to the name change. The notice of change of name must be published before the deadline to file an objection. Deadlines vary from state to state; in Maryland, for example, notices must be published 15 days before the objection deadline.

Draft a "Notice of Name Change" or similar. Check with your local court clerk for the exact title; typically, state courts and local newspapers will accept notices titled "Notice of Name Change" or "Change of Name Notice." List your former name and state your new name in the notice.

Contact a newspaper that regularly circulates in your county. Ask for the notices and records department. Explain that you need to publish notice of your new name. Note that in some jurisdictions, the county clerk can provide a list of newspapers to contact.

Send in your notice of name change and pay the filing fee. Filing fees vary from newspaper to newspaper; fees can be higher in states that require longer publication runs. Some states require the notice to run for at least two weeks; others require the notice to run just once.

Submit proof of publication to the court. Your receipt, a copy of the notice of name change and a copy of the newspaper should suffice. This shows the court you complied with name-change laws.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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