Welcome! You are likely looking through this guide because you are interested in information regarding a legal name change. If so, you have come to the right place. While some of this information can likely be applied no matter where you live, we do want to clarify that this guide has been created to provide information primarily to residents of the State of Missouri.
A name change is a fairly simple process in Missouri compared to other legal actions and can be completed fairly quickly. We are here to walk you through the process and provide some helpful information.
Where Do I Start?
Good question. The first step to a name change is deciding if you will be filing on your own or with the help of an attorney. If you are filing on your own, then you need to contact your local Circuit Court to ask for the filing requirements for your name change case, including what forms will need to be prepared. If you are going to use a lawyer, then the first step would be to set up a consultation with the lawyer of your choice. A lawyer will then meet with you to discuss what change you are looking for, why you want the change of name, as well as a variety of other questions.
What Comes Next?
Once an attorney has been retained, the case is then filed in the Circuit Court of the county you live in. A name change case is typically going to require some sort of case information sheet depending on the county you reside in, the actual petition for name change, as well as a filing fee.
What Goes Into a Petition for Name Change?
Missouri law requires that very specific information be included in a petition for name change including where you reside, the full name you are looking to acquire, and if you have any outstanding debts or pending criminal cases.
Tip: It is important to include all required information in your petition because if any information is missing then your request may be denied by the Judge.
The petition also must be signed in front of a notary to ensure that you are serious about your request and to confirm that all the information being presented is correct and truthful. Once that occurs, then the case can be filed and is processed by the Circuit Clerk’s office. The Clerk will assign the case to a Judge and give your case a number.
What Law Governs Name Changes?
In Missouri, name changes must follow the requirements set forth in Rule 95 of the Missouri Supreme Court Rules and Chapter 527 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Rule 95 gives a thorough explanation of all requirements for the petition, when the change shall be ordered and what process to follow after the change is ordered.
Will I Have to Appear in Court?
Unfortunately yes. While many clients try to avoid appearing before a Judge at all costs, a name change does require a short hearing before the Judge. However, the good news is that name changes are rarely ever contested so the hearings are quick and generally very friendly compared to other hearings. Although, please make sure you can clearly explain why you are looking for the change of name as some Judges are more skeptical than others. If you can do this, then the Judge will generally grant the request.
Can a Minor Change His or Her Name?
The law does allow for a minor child to change his or her name if they choose to do so. However, unlike an adult who can request their own change, a minor does need the written consent of each known parent for the child for the case to be filed with the Court. If both parents consent, then the child may proceed with the name change.
Is That Everything?
Not quite! Once you appear for the hearing and the Judge grants your request, then you will need to publish the change of name in a Court approved publication, such as Missouri Lawyers Weekly, for three consecutive weeks. After that is accomplished, your case will officially be concluded and your name will be changed.
What if I Still Have Questions for a St. Louis Family Attorney?
If you need any more information regarding name changes, we are happy to speak with you on the phone (314-918-0100) or answer questions at a consultation.
*The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. This guide is intended for general information purposes only. It does not provide any legal advice about any specific case or legal matter and should not be considered a substitute for obtaining such legal advice. Your accessing, viewing, use, or response to this guide does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is created only upon our acceptance of your case, after consultation, and your agreement to retain our services.