Seeking a name change is something that many people do throughout their life, and for various reasons. For example, you may need to change the name of an adopted child; may choose to change your last name as a result of a marriage or a divorce; or may want to change your first, last, or middle name for other personal reasons. The good news is that changing your name is a relatively straightforward legal process in Massachusetts. For help legally changing your name, reach out to the Law Office of Heather M. Ward directly today.
When Can a Person Legally Change Their Name in Massachusetts?
Feel like changing your name? Recently married and want to change your name to match your spouse’s? Getting divorced? The good news is that in Massachusetts, a person can change their name for nearly any reason and at any time, so long as the name change is not fraudulent.
Steps for Changing Your Name in Massachusetts
The process for legally changing your name is straightforward and does not require you to go to court unless you wish to obtain official documents in that name, such as a driver’s license, which most people do. Here are the steps for changing your name:
- File your name change petition. The first thing that you will need to do is to file a petition for name change with the clerk at the Family and Probate Court in the county where you live. At the time you file, you will also need to provide:
- Filing fee
- Certified copy of your birth certificate
- Publish public notice of the name change. You are required to give public notice of your name change, which is accomplished by publishing the notice of change in your local paper. Note that you can waive this requirement if you have good cause to do so. You must provide the court with proof that the notice was published.
- Appear in Probate and Family Court. Finally, you must appear in Probate and Family Court, during which time a judge will likely ask you why you want to change your name. Name changes are almost always allowed.
Note that the only time you will not have to go through the above process when you are changing a name is in the event that you are getting divorce. This is because the above process is only for the adoption of a new name, not the adoption of a previous name. If you are getting a divorce, you can revert back to your previous last name simply by checking a box on the divorce complaint.
How Our Massachusetts Family Law Attorney Can Help
Depending on your reason for changing your name or whose name you are changing—for example, your name or a child’s name—the name-changing process may be more complex. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced Massachusetts family law attorney can guide you through the process, answer any questions, and represent you. Call Attorney Heather M. Ward directly today at (617) 903-8955 or send our law office a message online to learn more.