North Carolina Name Change Requirements

General Summary of Name Change Laws

The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.

You cannot change your name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).

IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions which involve a minor, courts typically seek written consent from every adult who retains legal rights over the minor. As such, the applicant must directly notify each of these parties (Service of Process).

Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY. Our products/services should not be used if you have been convicted of a felony, have claimed bankruptcy and/or have judgments/liens against you. Instead, you should consider contacting an attorney in your area. These circumstances could cause complications, which may result in your action being denied and/or contested.

Summary of Name Change Law and Procedures in North Carolina for an Adult

In North Carolina, an adult, who wishes, for good cause shown, to change their name, must file their application in the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which (s)he (the Petitioner) resides. Prior to filing said application, the Petitioner must first give ten (10) days notice of the application by publication at the courthouse door. This posting of the ten (10) day Notice, gives the public notice by publication of the requested name change. Thereafter the application, which is also referred to as the Petition, is filed with the Clerk of the Court.

The Petition includes personal information as required by statute, such as the name of the Petitioner, the new name the Petitioner is requesting, the reasons for the request for change of name, etc. The Petition must be notarized. The Petition is filed along with the Special Proceedings Action Cover Sheet and two (2) Affidavits of Good Character.

After the ten (10) day Notice has been posted and the Petition, Special Proceedings Action Cover Sheet and the Affidavits of Good Character have been filed, your documents will be reviewed and you MAY be required (if you have not done so already) to complete the Order of Name Change and/or the Order and Certificate of Name Change, in triplicate. If the court finds good and sufficient reasons for the change and also finds it consistent with the public interest, it shall enter an order changing the name of the Petitioner from his/her true name to the name sought to be adopted.

Thereafter, the Clerk shall issue to the applicant a certificate under his/her hand and seal of office, stating the change made in the Petitioner's name, and shall also record the application and order on the docket of special proceedings in the court. He/She shall forward the order to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. If the Petitioner was born in North Carolina, the State Registrar shall note the change of name of the individual or individuals specified in the order on the birth certificate of that individual or those individuals and shall notify the register of deeds in the county of birth. If the Petitioner was born in another state of the United States, the State Registrar shall forward the notice of change of name to the registration office of the state of birth.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for an Adult in North Carolina

Certain requirements exist which must be met before you can file for a name change and/or during the name change process in North Carolina. These requirements include:

  • You (the Petitioner) must have lived within the State of North Carolina and the County in which you will be filing your application in for at least six (6) months.
  • You must be an adult. Following is the age of majority, as taken directly from Chapter 48, ' 48-1-101, of North Carolina's General Statutes, 'Adult means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, or if under the age of 18, is either married or has been emancipated under the applicable State law.'
  • You (the Petitioner) must have proper and reasonable cause for the requested change of name.
  • You (the Petitioner) are not changing your name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors or anyone else.

Summary of Name Change Law and Procedures in North Carolina for a Minor

In North Carolina, an action for a minor's name change is brought by the parent(s), guardian or next of friend of the minor child, on behalf of the minor. As indicated elsewhere on our site, you may only use our minor name change materials if both parents consent to the name change. If one parent does not consent, you MUST seek the advice of an attorney. Our minor name change materials are not appropriate for any other circumstance(s)/situation(s).

The petitioning adult is the Petitioner in said legal action. The Petitioner must file the application in the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which (s)he (the Petitioner) resides. This should be the same jurisdiction in which the minor resides. Prior to filing said application, the Petitioner must first give ten (10) days notice of the application by publication at the courthouse door. This posting of the ten (10) day Notice, gives the public notice by publication of the requested name change. Thereafter the application, which is also referred to as the Petition, is filed with the Clerk of the Court.

The Petition includes personal information as required by statute, such as the name of the Petitioner, the minor child's name, the new name requested for the minor child, the reasons for the request for change of name, etc. The Petition must be notarized. The Petition is filed along with the Special Proceedings Action Cover Sheet, the Affidavit of Parental Consent and if applicable (depending upon the age of the minor) two (2) Affidavits of Good Character.

After the ten (10) day Notice has been posted and the Petition, Special Proceedings Action Cover Sheet, Affidavit of Parental Consent and the Affidavits of Good Character (if applicable) have been filed, your documents will be reviewed and you MAY be required (if you have not done so already) to complete the Order of Name Change for a Minor and/or the Order and Certificate of Name Change, in triplicate.

If the court finds good and sufficient reasons for the change and also finds it consistent with the public interest, it shall enter an order changing the name of the minor from his/her true name to the name sought to be adopted.

Thereafter, the Clerk shall issue to the applicant a certificate under his/her hand and seal of office, stating the change made in the minor's name, and shall also record the application and order on the docket of special proceedings in the court. He/She shall forward the order to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. If the minor was born in North Carolina, the State Registrar shall note the change of name of the individual or individuals specified in the order on the birth certificate of that individual or those individuals and shall notify the register of deeds in the county of birth. If the minor was born in another state of the United States, the State Registrar shall forward the notice of change of name to the registration office of the state of birth.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for a Minor in North Carolina

Certain requirements exist which must be met before you can file for a name change for a minor and/or during the name change process for a minor in North Carolina. These requirements include:

  • You (the Petitioner) and the minor child must have lived within the State of North Carolina and the county in which you will be filing your application in for at least six (6) months.
  • To file an application for a change of name for a minor in North Carolina, the minor must be seventeen years of age or younger. Following is the age of majority, as taken directly from North Carolina's General Statutes, Chapter 48A. Minors, ' 48A-2, '"A minor is any person who has not reached the age of 18 years.' Once the age of majority is reached, an application for an adult name change should be filed.
  • You (the Petitioner) must have proper and reasonable cause for the requested change of name.
  • You (the Petitioner) are not changing the minor child's name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors or anyone else.

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