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Can I Legally Change My Child's Name?

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By Author: Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC
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You love your child...what you don't love is their name. There are a variety of reasons you may want to change a child's name. Perhaps you named them after someone and they always go by their nickname anyway, so you'd like to make it official. If their father is no longer in their life, you may think life would be easier if your son or daughter had the same last name as you. Perhaps you have adopted this child and wish to give them a name you picked out, not someone else. For these or any other reason, you want to make their new name legal and official.
The question is, how?

Family attorneys in Covington get this question often. Let's answer it here for you now! First, this is for any minor but just a child. In Louisiana, a minor is defined as anyone who is under the age of eighteen (18). Both of the minor’s parents, or their tutor, must be Louisiana residents in order to request that the minor’s name be changed. A tutor is defined as someone who has been appointed as the minor’s acting guardian. If one of the parents has been granted sole custody of the minor, or if the other parent has been delinquent with child support payments, the signatures and consent of both parents are not required.

Step 1 Complete the Petition
First, you must make a request to the district court by filling out the Petition for Name Change for Minor. This document includes both a “Petition” and a “Judgement” form. Three copies of the document should be made.

Step 2 File the Petition With the District Court
Next, family attorneys in Covington will file the petition with the Clerk of Court. This can be done here where you and your child lives or at the Orleans Parish because this is where the Vital Records Registry is located for Lousianna. All parents/guardians who signed the document should present and sufficiently identify and explain themselves, after which, the clerk can stamp all three (3) copies of the document.

Step 3 Submit a Copy of the Petition to the District Attorney
Your attorney will handle this one. He or she will ensure one copy of the Petition for Name Change for Minor is submitted to the District Attorney. The District Attorney will take a look over it and decide. When one parent wants to change a minor child's name but the other parent objects to the change, the court may deny the request. Judges make such decisions based on what is in the child's best interest, after considering all available information.

Step 4 Judge Makes Decision Regarding the Petition
Once the District Attorney has made and filed their decision regarding the petition, the judge who has been assigned to the case will have to make the final decision. If there is to be a public hearing for making this decision, the Clerk of Court will inform the interested parties. If the judge approves the Petition for Name Change, they will sign the “Judgement” which can then be stamped by the Court Clerk.

This isn't something you want to be doing on your own. Family law attorneys in Covington, LA can and should be brought in to help!

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