Your name is vital to your daily activities, beginning with your birth certificate, State ID, driver’s license, credit cards, social media accounts, and more. Legally, many things occur “in” your name every day.
You pay taxes in your name, pay traffic tickets, or may receive government aid or benefits. It’s been with you since you were born, and it is critical to identify who you are.
There are many reasons in life today that may cause you to have to legally change your name, such as reverting to your maiden name after a divorce. This is always a challenging legal process, especially in New Jersey. However, there are navigable paths through the Garden State’s legal jungle, and your divorce or family lawyer’s advice will be invaluable.
The “good news” is that the New Jersey courts are commonly willing to grant a name change for many legitimate reasons. However, it can be a daunting legal process and is always discretionary with the Court.
For the court to grant a name change, you must show compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the reasons and allegations in your application.
The New Jersey Court must also be convinced that you have sufficient reason for the name change and that this change is consistent with the public interest. If the name change is for a minor, then you must show that the change is in the child’s best interests and have consent or notification of the child’s other parent.
It’s also vital to remember that the courts will never allow a name change for any fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid pressing debts. Also, you cannot change to any name that could affect the rights of another, be considered a curse word, racial slur, or obscene.
This may sound like “common sense,” but there are many rules of this type that could affect your choice or spelling of your new name.
Most name changes are designed to include simple and obvious life events, such as divorce, the death of a spouse, or personal considerations. Name changes for these reasons are still challenging and should not be attempted without the help of a professional, knowledgeable Chester divorce or family lawyer.
Additionally, if you’ve been convicted of a felony, claimed bankruptcy, or have judgments or liens against you, a “simple” name change can be an arduous legal process. These complicating conditions demand the help of a competent, meticulous law firm, without which your action will be denied.
What Are Some Requirements For Me To Change My Name in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, many legal requirements must be met before you can file for a name change as an adult.
Some of these requirements are:
- You must be eighteen or older to apply for a name change as an adult. “Adult” is legally defined as you are18 years of age or older. If you are not yet 18, you must file an application for a minor child.
- You must reside in the State of New Jersey and the County where you will be filing your application.
- You must have proper and reasonable cause to file the request to change your name.
- You are not changing your name to avoid debts, defrauding creditors, avoid criminal prosecution, are currently in bankruptcy proceedings, or any other fraudulent purpose.
The paperwork and filing for any name change in New Jersey are always legally challenging, and the courts will look at all documents filed to ensure that your reasons are sound. Your local divorce or family lawyer will work diligently to file all pertinent information so that the court has little reason to question or deny your request.
What If the Name Change Request is For a Minor?
The legal process for obtaining a name change by court order for a minor child is commonly done by you as the child’s biological parent or legal guardian.
This legal process starts with your family lawyer filing a “Verified Complaint” and many other required forms in the Superior Court of the county where you and the minor child reside.
The “Verified Complaint” includes all the personal information required, such as your name, the minor child’s name, the new name requested for the minor child, and the sound, valid legal reasons for the request.
Legally, filing for a name change for a minor is more complex than for an adult. Other rules and regulations apply, such as notifying all concerned parties. This rarely is a straightforward process, and many times may be contested for numerous reasons. If a minor is involved, then the guidance of a Chester family or divorce lawyer will be invaluable.
Alternatively, after the hearing, if the New Jersey Court is satisfied there are no objections to the name change and it is consistent with the public interest, the Court will issue a Final Judgment authorizing it.
What Do I Do To Change My Name After My Divorce?
You might think that you could quickly revert to your “maiden” name after your divorce, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The courts ‘certify’ a marriage and ‘grant’ a divorce. Therefore, unsurprisingly, changing your name during or after your divorce still involves complex legal work.
However, your divorce may have been stressful, messy, and painful; changing your name doesn’t have to be that way. New Jersey permits (under “normal circumstances”) the court managing a divorce to change either party’s name at the same time the divorce is granted.
This includes a name change reverting to a former “maiden” name or taking a new name altogether.
I Do Want My Name Changed in New Jersey; How Should I Proceed?
Unfortunately, New Jersey doesn’t have any “simple’ legal procedure to allow you to change your name. Even if your reasons seem “simple” to you, the legal name-changing process in New Jersey is technically demanding and legally arduous; especially for you if you do not have a legal background.
The paperwork is detailed, and at times the New Jersey court will question your documents and the reasons for the name change.
Consulting with a local Chester family or divorce lawyer will ensure that all your “bases” are covered, and the entire process moves as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Name change court proceedings can take as little as two weeks to complete but up to six (6) months or longer if not filed the first time correctly! If you want your name change done expediently and successfully, consult with your family lawyer as soon as possible.