Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Changing a Minor Child's Name

In order to change a minor child's name on his birth certificate you need to get a judge's permission.

You need to get a judge to sign a piece of paper ordering the birth certificate agency to issue a new birth certificate.
The birth certificate agency is not going to issue a new birth certificate without an order signed by a judge ordering them to do it.
It costs money to file a document called a "Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child". This fee to the county is usually around $300. It varies from county to county in the State of Texas.

Then you need to have a document called "Order" for the Judge to sign.

FYI: These legal documents are NOT available at any courthouse. 
You need to have these legal documents with you when you go to the courthouse. 
You can find samples of these forms in a set of books called the TEXAS FAMILY PRACTICE MANUAL.
You must fill in these forms. 
This is one of the reasons you need to hire an attorney.
An attorney knows how to fill out these forms. 
The forms advertised on t.v. and radio sold by companies outside of Texas are NOT correct Texas forms that Judges are used to seeing. 
If you puchase these forms be prepared for the Judge to reject them! 
(You are probably wasting your money - so buyer beware!)

The Judge wants all parents (and/or parties with court ordered standing regarding this child) to be notified about this pending name change AND to agree IN WRITING to it.

There is a form called WAIVER OF SERVICE that must be properly notarized so that the other parent does NOT need to come to court to tell the judge that they agree to the name change. 

I also like the other parent to sign the ORDER on the last page also confirming that they agree to the child's new name - that way the Judge knows that the other parent agrees to the child's name change. 

Many people ask me if a judge will grant the name change because the other parent is behind in child support or for some other reason. Many judges will NOT grant a name change just because the other parent is behind in child support.

If you want to do a name change of a minor child, I recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney that practiced in your county for many years and trust his/her advice.

If everyone agrees, most name changes can be done fairly quickly.  There is no required waiting period lawsuits require in Texas. 

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