Changing Your Name in Massachusetts (Adults)

Petition for Name Change in Massachusetts Probate and Family Court

The procedure for changing your legal name in Massachusetts varies depending upon several factors:

  1. A legal name change can be accomplished during certain specific court proceedings such as a divorce or if you are in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen.
  2. When getting married, a name change can be requested in Massachusetts.
  3. A case can be filed in Massachusetts Probate and Family Court to change your name legally if the person filing the name change request if over the age of 18.

Change of Name through Divorce in Massachusetts

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..."

Becoming a Naturalized Citizen

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.

Change of Name through Marriage in Massachusetts

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.

Filing a Petition for Name Change 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.

Checklist of Items Needed to Change Your Name as an Adult in Massachusetts

  • Petition to Change Name of Adult
  • Certified Copy of Your Birth Certificate
  • Certified Copy of a prior change of name (if you have changed names in the past)
  • Court Activity Record Information (CAR) and Warrant Management System (WMS) Release Request form
  • Return of Service on Citation (not required if the Probate and Family Court has waived this requirement upon accepting a motion to waive return of service on citation)
  • Motion (not necessarily required - but may be if impounding, waiving notice of publication, etc.)

Motions in Support of a 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.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in the pages and posts of this website are for general informational purposes only. The information presented on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by the use of this site.

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