For an adult name-change in Missouri a petition must be filed with the Family Court Division in the county where the person resides. Information required in the petition includes:
- The petitioner’s present name and the proposed new name.
- The reason for seeking the change.
- The petitioner’s date and place of birth.
- Father’s name, and mother’s maiden name.
- If the petitioner is married, the spouse’s name and the names and ages of the petitioner’s children, if any, and their residence.
- If the petitioner’s name previously has been changed, when, where and by what court.
- Whether there is any unpaid monetary judgment against the petitioner, and, if so, the name of the case, the case number, and the name and location of the court in which the judgment was granted. Whether any lawsuits seeking monetary damages are pending against the petitioner, and, if so, the name of the case, the case number, and the name and location of the court in which the case is pending.
In approximately a month, after the petition is filed, the petitioner and his or her attorney must appear in court for a brief hearing. Most adult name changes are granted by the court without question at this hearing. Missouri law says that the court can deny a change only:
- If there is evidence that third parties, including the state, might be harmed.
- If the petitioner seeks the change to avoid paying debts owed to creditors.
- If the requested new name is bizarre, obscene or offensive.
- If the name is the same as the name of a governmental entity.
After the judge approves the name change at the hearing, the judge signs a name-change decree. The final legal step in the process is that notice of the court-approved name change must be published in a local newspaper once a week for three weeks. After a name change is granted, the person will need to notify numerous persons and agencies of the change, including tax authorities, voter registration office, drivers license and vehicle registration office, Social Security Administration, banks and creditors, most of whom will want a copy of the name-change decree.
A person using the court-approved name-change process can also have his or her birth certificate altered. The Missouri Bureau of Vital Statistics is authorized to amend a birth certificate upon receipt of a certified copy of a name-change decree.
If you have questions and you would like to consult with an attorney regarding a name change, call James Piedimonte at (816)254-6477.