New Jersey Name Change Requirements

General Summary of Name Change Laws

The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.

You cannot change your name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).

IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions which involve a minor, courts typically seek written consent from every adult who retains legal rights over the minor. As such, the applicant must directly notify each of these parties (Service of Process).

Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY. Our products/services should not be used if you have been convicted of a felony, have claimed bankruptcy and/or have judgments/liens against you. Instead, you should consider contacting an attorney in your area. These circumstances could cause complications, which may result in your action being denied and/or contested.

Summary of Name Change Law and Procedures in New Jersey for an Adult

In New Jersey, an adult, who wishes, for good cause shown, to change his/her name by court order, must file their application (Verified Complaint) for such in the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which (s)he (the Plaintiff) resides.

Following is the definition of age of majority, as taken directly from the "New Jersey Permanent Statutes, TITLE 2A Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice, 2A:4A-22., General Definitions;"

"3. General definitions. As used in this act:

a. "Juvenile" means an individual who is under the age of 18 years.

b. "Adult" means an individual 18 years of age or older."

The Plaintiff's Verified Complaint includes personal information as required by statute, such as the Plaintiff's date of birth, as well as the name the Plaintiff wishes to adopt and the reason(s) for the request for change of name. After filing a Verified Complaint and paying the required filing fee for such, the Court will set the Complaint for a hearing, not less than thirty (30) days from the date of the order of publication. At this time, the Court will return copies of the Verified Complaint and Order Fixing Date of Hearing to the Plaintiff. The Court will have filled in (completed) the date on the Order Fixing Date of Hearing. This date is the day the Plaintiff will appear before the Court/Judge to get the final order (Judgment). The Court will also indicate the name of the newspaper in which the Plaintiff is to have the notice of their hearing date published.

The Plaintiff is required to give public notice of the relief requested and the date of the hearing in said local newspaper - as directed by the Court/Judge. The notice must be published once at least two (2) weeks prior to the scheduled hearing.

After publication is complete, the Plaintiff must submit proof of publication to the Clerk of the Court. This is accomplished by filing an Affidavit provided by the newspaper verifying the publication. The Affidavit is attached to a copy of the published notice and filed with the Clerk.

After proof to the Court of publication, the Court shall proceed at chambers at such date as the Court shall fix to hear and determine all matters raised by the application and to render final Judgment or Decree thereon. At the hearing, if the Court is satisfied that there is no reasonable objection to the name change and that it is consistent with the public interest, the Court will issue a Final Judgment authorizing the name change and setting the date when the Plaintiff will be authorized to assume the new name. This date will not be less than thirty (30) days following the date of the entry of the Judgment.

As soon as the Plaintiff receives their copy of the Final Judgment, they must send it (a copy of their Final Judgment) to be published in the newspaper chosen by the Judge. The Final Judgment must be published once within twenty (20) days of the date of the entry of Judgment. Proof of publication must be filed with the Clerk within forty-five (45) days of the date of the entry of Judgment. A certified copy of the Judgment must also be filed with the Department of Treasury, within forty-five (45) days after the date of the Judgment.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for an Adult in New Jersey

Certain requirements exist which must be met before you can file for an adult name change and/or during the name change process for an adult in New Jersey. These requirements include:

  • To file an application for a change of name for an adult in New Jersey, the adult must be eighteen (18) years of age or older. Following is the age of majority, as taken directly from Sec. 2A:4A-22, of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes, Title 2A Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice, ""Juvenile" means an individual who is under the age of 18 years. "Adult" means an individual 18 years of age or older." If the age of majority is not reached, an application for a minor child name change should be filed.
  • You (the Plaintiff) must live within the State of New Jersey and the County in which you will be filing your application in.
  • You (the Plaintiff) must have proper and reasonable cause for the requested change of name.
  • You (the Plaintiff) are not changing your name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors, to avoid criminal prosecution or for any other fraudulent purpose.

Summary of Name Change Law and Procedures in New Jersey for a Minor

In New Jersey, the process for obtaining a name change by court order for a minor child whose biological parent is acting as the Plaintiff, begins with the filing of a Verified Complaint and other appropriate forms, in the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which the Plaintiff and the minor child reside.

The Verified Complaint includes personal information as required by statute, such as the Plaintiff's name, the minor child's name, the new name requested for the minor child, the reason(s) for the request for change of name, etc.

After filing a Verified Complaint (and other appropriate forms) and paying the required filing fee for such, the Court will set the Complaint for a hearing, not less than thirty (30) days from the date of the order of publication. At this time, the Court will return copies of the Verified Complaint and Order Fixing Date of Hearing to the Plaintiff. The Court will have filled in (completed) the date on the Order Fixing Date of Hearing. This date is the day the Plaintiff and possibly the minor child will appear before the Court/Judge to get the final order (Judgment). The Court will also indicate the name of the newspaper in which the Plaintiff is to have the notice of the hearing date published.

The Plaintiff is required to give public notice of the relief requested and the date of the hearing in said local newspaper - as directed by the Court/Judge. The notice must be published once at least two (2) weeks prior to the scheduled hearing. After publication is complete, the Plaintiff must submit proof of publication to the Clerk of the Court. This is accomplished by filing an Affidavit provided by the newspaper verifying the publication. The Affidavit is attached to a copy of the published notice and filed with the clerk.

The Plaintiff is also required to notify other interested parties as mentioned above. After notification is complete, the Plaintiff must submit proof that the appropriate parties have been notified of the intent to change the minor child's name. This is accomplished by filing the proof of mailing along with the green return receipt-requested mail cards.

After proof of publication and notification have been received and reviewed, the Court shall proceed at chambers at such date as the Court shall fix to hear and determine all matters raised by the application and to render Final Judgment or decree thereon. At the hearing, if the Court is satisfied there is no reasonable objection to the name change and that it is consistent with the public interest, the Court will issue a Final Judgment authorizing the name change and setting the date when the minor child will be authorized to assume the new name. This date will not be less than thirty (30) days following the date of the entry of the Judgment.

As soon as the Plaintiff receives their copy of the Final Judgment, they must send it (a copy of their Final Judgment) to be published in the newspaper chosen by the Judge. The Final Judgment must be published once within twenty (20) days of the date of the entry of Judgment. Proof of publication must be filed with the Clerk within forty-five (45) days of the date of the entry of Judgment. A certified copy of the Judgment must also be filed with the Department of Treasury, within forty-five (45) days after the date of the Judgment.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for a Minor in New Jersey

Certain requirements exist which must be met before you can file for a name change for a minor and/or during the name change process for a minor in New Jersey. These requirements include:

  • You (the Plaintiff) are the minor child's biological parent.
  • To file an application for a change of name for a minor in New Jersey, the minor must be seventeen years of age or younger. Once the age of majority is reached, an application for an adult name change should be filed.
  • You (the Plaintiff) must have proper and reasonable cause for the requested change of name for the minor.
  • You (the Plaintiff) are not changing the minor child's name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors or anyone else, to avoid criminal prosecution or for other fraudulent purposes.
  • If the minor child's other (non filing) biological parent does not reside with you (and the minor), you must send a copy of the documents to the last known address of the child's other biological parent. These documents should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested and proof of said mailing must be provided to the Court. Again, please remember that our name change materials are for simple uncontested name change actions only.

Where can I find the New Jersey statutes pertaining to name change?

The New Jersey statutes/laws regarding name changes are New Jersey Permanent Statutes TITLE 2A, ADMINISTRATION OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE - 2A:52-1. If you are interested in reviewing the New Jersey name change statutes/laws, please refer to the New Jersey Statutes at: http://www.njlawnet.com/njstatutes.html.

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