How to change your name

A person may wish to change his or her name for many reasons. The State of Missouri is not concerned with your reason, as long as you are not attempting to defraud others. Here are the three steps to changing your name in Missouri:

First, a petition must be filed in court pursuant to statute, which requires 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, which petition shall set forth the petitioner’s full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change; and it shall be the duty of the judge of such court to order such change to be made, and spread upon the records of the court, in proper form, if such judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.”

Second, the court must have a hearing on the petitioner’s petition. As indicated by the statute, the court’s focus is on whether “the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.” In particular, the court’s inquiry is on whether the petitioner is attempting to avoid creditors, lawsuits, or others with a valid claim against the petitioner.

Third, notice must be given by publication in the county where the petitioner resides. Publication means that notice of the petitioner’s name change will be published in a local newspaper. However, publication is not required if the petitioner is a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, as referenced in the relevant statute.

If you have additional questions about how to change your name, call or come visit the family law attorneys at the Paul Law Firm. Consultations are always free!