In order to change the name of a minor in Texas, you will need to get a court order approving the name change. Any parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the minor may file for a legal name change in the county where the minor resides. The following steps are required to change the name of a minor in Texas:
- File a Petition on behalf of the minor
- Notify any parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the name change minor
- Attend a name change hearing
- File an Order granting name change
Legal Documents to Complete
First, print and fill out the Petition, Verification, and Order. If all parents, managing conservators, and guardians agree on the name change, then each parent, conservator, and guardian should fill out their own Verification and sign the Petition. All Verifications must be signed in front of a Notary Public. The Notary will verify your identity and sign their name to verify that you signed the document in front of them. If the minor is over the age of 10, they must fill out a consent form confirming that they want their name to change. This form is included in the link above.
File the original and two copies of the Petition, Verifications, and Child Consent with the Clerk of Court’s office for the District Court of the county where the minor resides. Have the Clerk return a stamped copy of the documents to you and set a date for your name change hearing.
Note: There are additional notification steps you must follow if you want to change the name of your child without the other parent’s approval or if you are the child’s guardian and not a parent.
The Judge’s Approval or Denial
On the date of your court appearance, take the original of the filled out Order and a copy of all other documents filed with you to court. The judge may ask you a few questions. Answer honestly and briefly. If any party chooses to contest the name change, they will be allowed to explain their objection as well. The judge will decide whether or not the name change is in the best interest of the child and the public. If he agrees, he will sign the Order. It will be your responsibility to make sure that the Order is filed with the Clerk’s office. Some counties will file the Order for you. Other counties will require you to file the Order with the Clerk’s office yourself. Either way, make sure you get a certified copy of your Order before leaving the courthouse.
You can then use the Order to change the minor’s name on the remaining documents like their birth certificate, social security card, and state identification card. In order to change their name on these documents, you will need to visit the offices for these records and provide them with a copy of the Order as well as fill out the forms they provide.
Additional Steps for Filing without Parental Approval:
If there is a disagreement about the name change, and a parent, managing conservator or guardian is not willing to sign the Petition and Verification, then those parties not in agreement must be served with a Notification of the name change.
After your Petition has been filed, ask the Clerk’s office to schedule a name change hearing and issue a citation. The Clerk should be able to give you at least two copies of the citation. Once you know the hearing date and time, you must send the citation with the date and time of the hearing to any parent, managing conservator, or guardian that did not sign the Petition and Verification. Make additional copies if necessary and keep one copy for your records. These citations must be formally served on each individual parent, managing conservator, and guardian that did not sign a Verification. There are three methods of formally serving in Texas:
- Request a formal Process Server through the Sheriff or Constable’s office and receive a verification of personal service. By this method, the individual will be served in person. You are not allowed to serve the document yourself. There will be a fee to hire a Process Server.
- Send a copy of the citation by certified mail. The individual being served must sign his own name on the receipt and you must obtain a copy. Fill out a verification of service by certified mail and attach a copy of the certified receipt with the signature of the person served.
- Publish a copy of the citation in a local paper. If you cannot find a parent, managing conservator, or guardian, or if you do not know the identity of these persons, you can send the citation to a local paper of general circulation and have the citation published at least one time.
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.