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The Name Change Process

Name changes must be done via court-order. A child’s parent or legal guardian can file a child name change petition at the district clerk’s office in the county where the child lives. There will be an associated filing fee. However, a petitioner can request this fee be waived via a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. The petition will request information such as the child’s name, requested new name, and reason for the requested change. If another parent is involved, they must be notified. If both parents agree, it is a fairly simple  process. If not, the case will need to go to court. However, if the other parent’s rights have been terminated, their consent is not necessary. If the court finds the name change is in the child’s best interest, a change will be granted.

What if I cannot contact the other parent?

Inability to locate the second parent makes the process a bit more complicated. In these situations, the other parent will likely need to be notified via publication. This can be done by placing notice of the case in places such as the newspaper or the state’s official public information website. Unfortunately, in these cases, the present parent will need to hire an Attorney Ad Litem to advocate for the absent parent’s rights. However, prior to notifying by publication, the parent wanting the name change must make a diligent, good-faith effort to notify the other parent via standard means.

Does My Child Need to Consent?

If the child is ten years or older, the parent will need to provide the child’s written consent alongside the petition.

What If I am only trying to correct a mistake?

If only trying to make a minor change, a court order may not be necessary. A parent or legal guardian can request a vital record amendment through the Texas Department of State Health Services to get a corrected birth certificate for their child .

Do I Need a lawyer?

Whether to hire an attorney is a personal decision. For straightforward, uncontested name changes, it may not be necessary, though can still be helpful by ensuring that everything is correct and efficient. However, for contested name changes, it is likely best to seek counsel. Name changes and surrounding issues fall under the purview of family law, for assistance with your child’s name change, reach out to an Arlington, TX family lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC to learn more about the process.