A spouse may resume the use of a maiden name following a divorce is Massachusetts but must specifically ask the Court for permission to do so at the time of final hearing on the divorce.
An adoption may also invoke a child’s name change if the petitioner requests it.
If you wish to change your name, or the name of a minor child, at any other time other than during a divorce or adoption proceeding, a Petition for Change of Name must be filed.
A few reasons people might change their names or the names of their children include:
- In the case of an absent father, a mother may wish to have a child’s surname changed to hers.
- If an absent father is now in the picture again, a name change to the father’s surname may also be requested.
- People with “ethnic” names that are hard to pronounce sometimes request name changes for ease of spelling.
- A name change request can come about simply because a person doesn’t like his or her name as given at birth.
Name change petitions are heard by the Probate and Family Court of the county where the petitioner resides. In rare situations a parent will petition the court to change the name over the objection of the non-custodial parent after a divorce is finalized. In Massachusetts, such a change of name can be made if it is in the best interest of the child.
Under Massachusetts General Laws c. 210, section 13, the court shall require notice of the petition to be given and any person may be heard thereon. Therefore, notice of the petition must be given to the non-custodial parent in the case of a petition to change the name of a minor child. The court may order notice to be given through in-hand service by a disinterested party or publication in a local newspaper. When notice of the petition has been given, and no person appeared to object, the court may proceed to allow the change of name.
At Wright Family Law Group, we specialize in name change petitions and other name change court filings. Find out how we can help you too. Contact us today to schedule your consultation at either our Danvers or Tewksbury offices.