Petition for Name Change in Massachusetts Probate and Family Court
The procedure for changing your legal name in Massachusetts varies depending upon several factors:
When a divorce is filed, by an attorney serving a Complaint for Divorce, or Joint Petition for Divorce or in the Counterclaim for Divorce filed by the other spouse, a request can be made of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judge to enter an order for legal name change. Often such a name change order will take the form of language such as, "to resume the former name..."
As part of the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. Citizen, an individual may request a change of name from the federal agency overseeing the naturalization process.
As part of the process that couple's undergo to get married in Massachusetts, each applicant will be required to indicate their name. In this manner, a name change can be accomplished by getting married in Massachusetts.
Adults in Massachusetts wishing to change a legal name must file a petition in the Probate and Family court in the county in which they maintain residence. The filing of the petition for name change effectively opens up a case in which you will likely be required to appear before the court, particularly if a motion needs to be filed in support of the name change.
It is sometimes necessary to file a motion and attend a hearing on the motion when wishing to take various actions. For example, if you wish to keep the name change from the public eye or, where attempting to avoid domestic abuse, it may be necessary to motion to impound the case. Another occasional issue that will pop up is the need to publish the name change. It may be possible for the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judge to waive the need to provide notice in certain instances.
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