The requirements for changing the name of a minor child are specific. In order to streamline the process and have a successful outcome, you must comply with these requirements. If the proper procedure is followed and all required documents are filed, completing the name change should move along quickly and without any foreseeable problems. Where things can get a bit more complicated, however, is when one parent or guardian does not consent to the name change.
Minor Name Changes
To change the name of a minor, a person under the age of 18, a parent or guardian of the child will need to get a court order approving the change. To get this, one parent or guardian will need to file a Petition for Name Change (Minor Child) with the family court that is located in the county where he or she resides. The petitioner must also get fingerprinted with an approved agency and submit them for a national and state criminal background check. The petitioner must also pay for the cost of fingerprinting.
Both parents or guardians must consent to the name change of the minor child. The petitioner must obtain written consent from the other parent on a form called “Consent for Change of Name (Minor Child). The signed form must be filed with the court. If the other parent does not consent to the name change, he or she must be formally served with the Petition for Name Change (Minor Child) and provided with notice of the hearing. If you cannot locate the other parent, he or she can be served through constructive notice. Constructive notice is most often accomplished by publishing in the newspaper regarding the name change action. Two copies of the petition and necessary attachments, such as the fingerprint card of the petitioner and the consent form or proof of service, must be submitted to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
Once everything is filed, a hearing will take place. If the other parent has consented to the name change, it is more likely than not that the judge will approve the name change and sign the Final Judgment ordering the name change. If the other parent has not consented and has appeared at the hearing, the judge will hear from both sides as to why the name of the minor should be changed or not changed. As with all family court decisions involving a minor, the best interest of the child will be applied to determine whether or not the name change will be approved or denied.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
Name change proceedings can be fairly easy to accomplish. You need to know, however, the proper procedures to follow. If the name change of the minor is being contested, things will get even more complicated. The knowledgeable family law attorneys at the Orlando Family Team are here to help you navigate name changes and any other proceedings you face in family court. We are here to answer any of your questions and advocate on your behalf. Contact us today.