Name Change for an Adult
Any adult can file a petition to change his or her own name, and the name change can be sought for many purposes as long as it is not wrongful, fraudulent, or capricious. There is no statutory time limit for filing a petition for name change of an adult, although the suit must be filed in the county where the adult resides.
In the petition, the adult requesting a name change must provide the Court with certain information, including:
- The full legal name and address of the adult requesting the name change
- The adult's gender, race, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number for any license issued in the preceding ten years
- State whether or not the requesting adult has been the subject of a final felony conviction, and the criminal history of the of the requesting adult (offenses above a Class C misdemeanor)
- State whether the requesting adult is subject to the sex-offender registration requirements of Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
- The full new name requested
- The reason for the requested name change
- Must include complete and legible Fingerprint Card (format accepted by Department of Public Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigation
- The petition must be verified.
There is no requirement to serve any person with citation of the suit, since there is no other person who needs to be made a person. The petition simply needs to be filed with the court of appropriate jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Once the suit is filed in the appropriate Court, the Petitioner (requesting adult) must submit their finger prints to Texas DPD and the FBI for processing, and so a criminal background on the individual can be sent to the Court handling the name change suit.
Once the Court has received the information it needs from Texas DPS and the FBI, you are ready to appear in Court to request the name change.
Hearing and Final Order
You may need to set a formal hearing with the Court in order to have your case heard, however many Court throughout the State of Texas allow you to simply approach the Court on its uncontested docket in order to do so. You will need to make sure to have a proposed Order Granting Name Change for Adult with you for the Judge to sign. The Court's decision to grant an adult's name change is discretionary; meaning there is no guarantee that they will grant your requested name change. For this reason, it is important to have a skilled family law attorney to represent you in this process, so that you can have the best support for your requested name change.
If granted, the effect of the name change is that the adult can use the new name for all legal purposes moving forward. You will need to get a certified copy of the signed order granting the name change and a change of name certificate from the clerk's office, and you can use this to update your driver's license, identification card, passport, social security card, etc. The name change does not absolve the adult from and debts that he or she incurred before the name change.
If you are interested in obtaining a name change for an adult in Galveston County, Brazoria County, or Harris County, please speak with the Law Office of Ian Michael Kuecker, PLLC to get the process started.
Name Change for a Child
Generally, the primary purpose for requesting the name change of a child is to have the child's name reflect that of a parent; in whole or in part. There is no statutory limit on the time in which a suit for name change of a child must occur; although if the suit is not filed by the time the child has reached the age of eighteen the suit would not be appropriate. In such a situation the "child" should file a suit for name change of an adult. Additionally, just like with adult name changes, the suit for name change of a child must be filed in the county in which the child resides.
In the petition, the adult requesting a name change for a child must provide the Court with certain information regarding the child, including:
- The child's present full legal name and place of residence
- State whether the child is subject to the sex-offender registration requirements of Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
- Provide reasons why the name change for the child is requested
- Including reasoning as to why the requested name change is in the child's best interest
- The full new name requested for the child
- State whether the child is subject to the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of any court
- If the child is at least ten years of age, the child's written consent to the name change must be attached to the petition
- The petition must be verified.
As mentioned above, the suit for name change for a child must be filed in the county in which the child resides. However, unlike adult name changes, there are other parties to a suit for name change of a child that must be served with citation in accordance with statutory requirements and due process.
The following persons must be served citation in a suit to change name of a child:
- A parent of the child whose parental rights have not been terminated
- Any managing conservator of the child (including joint-managing conservators)
- Any guardian of the child
Hearing and Final Order
If the name change for a child is contested, you will have to obtain a hearing before the Judge, properly notify the other parties of the the hearing, and present evidence and argument to the Court in order to get a ruling on the child name change. The court's decisions to grant a name change for a child is discretionary, and generally, Court are reluctant to change the name of a child unless the substantial welfare of the child requires it.
It is important to note - in Texas, there is no constitutional or statutory requirement that a child bear the last name of the child's father, the mother, or a combination of either parent.
If the name change for a child is granted, the effect is that the child can use that new name for legal purposes moving forward. If you are interested in obtaining a name change for child in Galveston County, Brazoria County, or Harris County, please speak with the Law Office of Ian Michael Kuecker, PLLC to get the process started.