To prevent against identity theft and contain risks of terrorism, agencies require a court order to confirm a change of last name. The one exception is during the event of a marriage, where one spouse is taking the other spouse’s name.
You can also change the last name of your child through a court process. Exceptions include using the name of a famous person for fraudulent purposes or financial benefits, fictitious names protected by copyright, and including racially sensitive or offensive words.
You will begin the process by filing some forms in court. Your name change request will then have to be published in a local newspaper for four weeks. Some states may require you to appear in person before a judge in court. The judge will sign a decree and you can use it to update your information on all other agencies and institutions.
If you are changing a minor’s name and aren’t the sole parent, you will be required to notify the other parent to receive their permission to make the change. Court papers will be provided to the other parent and they will be able to object or approve of the request.