The courts require more information when changing the last name of a minor than they do when conducting a name change of an adult. These measures are designed to ensure that the name change is in the best interest of the child.
A name change for a child may be sought for several difference reasons. One reason may be that the parents have divorced and the custodial parent would like the child’s last name to reflect their last name. Another reason may be that the Court has established the parent-child relationship between a child and the father and the father would like the child’s last name to reflect his.
Filing the Petition
The first step towards changing a child’s name in Texas is submitting a petition to the courts. A parent, a managing conservator, or a guardian, may file a name change petition. This petition should have the following information:
- Full legal name;
- Current residence of the child;
- Reasons for name change;
- Full requested name;
- Legal status of the child;
- Information regarding whether the child is subject to the sex-offender registration requirements under the Code of Criminal Procedure;
Moreover, if the child is at least the age of ten, petitioners are required to demonstrate that the child consents to the name change; this is generally done by providing a written note from the child.
Approving the Name Change
Once the petition has been filed, certain persons must be served with the petition, including a parent, any managing conservator of the child, and any guardian of the child. The court will sets a hearing date to determine whether the name change is in the best interest of the child. The other parent can consent to the proposed name change at the hearing. Texas courts typically require that both parents consent to a name change before it can be approved. Once consent is given, the Court will decide if the name change is in the best interest of the child.
However, when requesting a name change for a child, the Court has sole discretion in granting or denying the name change. The Court will take into consideration several factors in making this decision, but will ultimately look at whether the name change is in the best interest of the child and whether the substantial welfare of the child requires it.
Changing Documents to Reflect Name Change
If the Court grants the name change, you are able to request that important documents, such as social security cards and state I.D.’s, are altered to reflect these changes. You will be provided with a copy of the judge’s signed name change order, providing you with the required documentation to change all government documents.
For more guidance regarding the name change procedure, please contact Ashley J. Scott, a Houston name change attorney, online or at 713-255-2097.