In order to change the name of a minor in Illinois, you will need to get a court order approving your name change. A parent or legal guardian will need to do the following:
- Fill out a Notice
- Publish the Notice in a local newspaper
- File a Petition for name change
- Attend a name change hearing
- File a name change Order
Legal Documents to Complete
First, you will need to fill out a Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name. You need to have this Notice published in a newspaper in the city where the minor lives one day per week for three consecutive weeks. Make sure you have the Notice published at least six weeks before you intend to file the name change Petition. There is a form letter for you to send to the newspaper in the link below. The newspaper should return a Proof of Publication to you after publication is complete.
Note: Publication is not necessary if the Notice and Petition are served on all parents and people with legal physical custody of the minor involved. Service may be achieved through a Process Server or by Certified Mail. Attach verification of service to the Petition at the time of filing.
Next, you will need to print and file the Petition with the Clerk of the circuit court for the county where the minor lives. You can get all of the Illinois forms here: http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/info/children/minorsup.pdf.
The link above also contains forms you will need to file if you intend to "sue as a poor person" to have the filing and publication fees waived. Fill in the information you know on the Petition in black ink or on a printer and you may sign the document now or wait until you are in the Clerk’s office. When filling in the Petition, you will be the “named petitioner.” File the Petition and proof of publication or verification of service with the clerk of court. The clerk of court’s office is usually located in the county courthouse and the clerk of court can tell you your circuit court number and assign you a case number. There will be a fee to file the paperwork. You should have the clerk return a stamped copy of the Petition to you.
Fill in the top of the Order the same as the Petition the clerk returned to you. Do not sign the Order. Do not file the Order until after you receive the Judge’s signature.
Schedule a Hearing
Before you leave, ask the Clerk’s office how to schedule a hearing. They should be able to direct you to the proper procedure for their county and tell you when and where your court date will be held. It is a good idea to call a few days in advance of your date to ensure you are still scheduled for an appearance. If there is not written objection to your name change prior to your court appearance, the judge will probably grant your name change without the final hearing.
The Judge’s Decision
If the judge does not have a final hearing, the clerk will have the judge sign the Order and file it on your behalf. Go to the clerk’s office and get certified copies of the filed Order. If the judge decides to have a final hearing, take the stamped copy of the Petition you received from the Clerk and blank copy of the name change Order with you to court. A blank copy of an Order is included in the link above.
On your court date, the Court Clerk will call out your case number. The judge may ask you a few simple questions. Answer honestly and briefly. If the judge grants the name change, he/she will either sign the original copy of the Order you brought with you or he/she may have their own form, depending on the county. After the hearing, file the signed Order with the Clerk of court’s office the same way you did the Petition. Request certified copies of the signed Order. You will likely need one certified copy for each records agency you want to change your child’s name.
Once the Order has been filed, the name change will be final. Certified copies of the Order can then be used to change all of your child’s legal documents, including his or her birth certificate, social security card, passport, and driver’s license.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.