Petitioning for a name change – Minors
Last week, we wrote a blog post on the reasonably easy process adults can go through to change their name. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, it discusses why a person would want to change their name, which can include everything from marriage or divorce to professional or career-related needs, and what the steps are to make it all happen.
The name-change process is similar for a child, though the court will want to make sure the request passes two “tests.” Those tests are whether or not the change is in the child’s best interest and if it’s in the public’s best interest.
A Child’s Best Interest
A court’s decision to grant a child’s name change is discretionary. The court will review as many factors as possible to ensure the request is in the best interest of the child, including which name would be easier or more convenient for the child, which name would help identify the child as a part of the family unit, the age and maturity of the child, and any possible parental misconduct.
Below are a few more reasons, as outlined by the Texas Family Code:
- How long the child has used their present name
- What the child wants
- Requesting assurances from the parent that the name won’t change again
- Any delays were involved in the name-change request
- If the name change will positively or negatively affect the family unit
The Public’s Best Interest
Whether or not the child’s name change is in the public’s best interest seems a little shocking. After all, the court’s mission in many facets of family law is to ensure the child’s interest is being met. So, why would the public’s best interests matter?
The biggest, and perhaps only, reason is if the child whose name is to be changed is subject to requirements under the sex offender registration. If this is the case, the court can grant the name-change request if the change is in the public’s best interest AND if it is in the child’s best interest. The petitioner must provide the court proof that the child has notified the appropriate local law enforcement in the county the child lives.
The petition must be filed within the county where the child lives. Below are the basic name change procedures for a child:
- Name and address of the child.
2. Where the child is subject to sex offender registration requirements.
3. The reason for the name change.
4. The new full name requested for the child.
5. Whether the child is subject to the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a court.
6. The child’s consent (if at least 10 years of age).
7. Whether or not there is an objection to the assignment of an associate judge.
Call Nelson Law Group Today!
People change their adult names for a variety of reasons, and there is a lot more that goes into this conversation. Give our knowledgeable team here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our team is always available.
Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A Nelson click here.