In Missouri divorce law, you have the legal option of changing your name or that of your child for really any number of reasons.
Have you always been called a nickname and want to make it permanent? A mistake on your birth certificate? Want to change your last name?
All of these and more are reasons many people decide to legally change their name.
The process of legally changing your name is relatively simple. Total costs are also usually fairly inexpensive. However, it can take several months.
Missouri statute 527.270 states that every person desiring to change his or her name may present a petition to that effect, verified by affidavit, to the circuit court in the county of the petitioner’s residence.
The petition shall set forth the petitioner’s full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change. It’s the duty of the judge to order a name change if the judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.
After you have filed your petition in the Circuit Court, you or the court will set your name change petition for a hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you to answer a series of questions. The judge’s main concern is that a person is not changing their name to avoid debts they owe or judgments issued against them. For this reason, valid name changes are usually granted.
After the name change hearing, you still have to go through publishing your change of name. Missouri statute 527.290 states that public notice of a name change shall be given at least three times in a newspaper published in the county where such person is residing, within 20 days after the order of court is made.
If no newspaper is published in your or any adjacent county, then such notice shall be given in a newspaper published in St. Louis City or at the seat of government.
After your name change has been published, the newspaper you use will send the satisfaction of publishing to the court. The judge will then sign the final order of name change.
Once you receive your certified copy of the order, you can begin changing documents. Some commonly changed documents are birth certificates, driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers.
Although this process is relatively simple, please consult with a family law attorney prior to attempting to file on your own.