In North Carolina, you may change your name by petitioning the court, by marriage, or by divorce. In the case of marriage, you may change your name automatically by noting your desired name on the marriage license you fill-out when you get married. After the wedding, you can adopt your new name by changing your social security card, driver’s license, etc. Upon your divorce, you may resume your maiden name by filing a request with the clerk’s office either in the Complaint for Absolute Divorce and noting the change in the Judgment of Absolute Divorce; or by filing a request with the clerk’s office after the Judgment of Absolute Divorce has been issued. After you have done this, you will need to change your social security card, driver’s license, etc., to show that you have resumed the use of your maiden name.
If you would like to change your whole name, or your surname and it is not pursuant to marriage, divorce, adoption, legitimation, or paternity proceeding, you may file a petition with the court to do so. In order to do this, you must file a petition for a name change and submit supporting documentation in the county where you reside.
The procedure to change a child’s name is a bit more complex than changing an adult’s name. The reason for the change must be significant, and both parents must consent to the change, subject to a few strict exceptions. The minor child cannot request the change on his/her own; the parent must submit the request on the minor child’s behalf. However, the minor child may apply for a name change on his/her own once the minor child turns 16, so long as the minor child has the consent of the parent(s) with legal custody of the child.
If you are considering a name change for you or your child, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys to discuss all of your options and any potential pitfalls along the way.