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How to Legally Change a Child’s Name in Illinois | What if the Father Objects to a MInor’s Name Change?

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain how to legally change a child’s name in Illinois.  We answer the following questions: what steps are required to change a child’s name in Illinois?, what forms are required to change a minor’s name in Illinois?, what notice to the other parent is required for a child’s name change in Illinois?, what happens if the other parent objects to a child’s name change?, and what happens at a name change hearing for a minor child?

What Steps Are Required to Change a Child’s Name in Illinois?

Changing a child’s name in Illinois is a three-step process:

  1. Filling out the required forms and filing them with the clerk;
  2. Providing specific notice to the other parent or publishing notice in a newspaper; and
  3. Appearing at a court hearing.

What Forms Are Required to Change a Minor’s Name in Illinois?

In order to legally change a child’s name in Illinois, a parent or guardian must fill out the following forms and file them with the clerk of court for the county in which the child resides.  Note that the forms for a minor’s name change a different than the forms used for an adult name change.

  • Request for Name Change (Minor): This form initiates the name change case and provides the court with information regarding the child, the proposed name change, and the reason for the change.  
  • Decree of Change of Name (Minor): This is the court order that the judge will sign if he or she permits the name change at the conclusion of the hearing.
  • Notice of Motion: This is the notice of the hearing date and time that you must provide to the other parent if the other parent is not cohabitating with you.  If you are cohabitating with the other parent, then this form is not necessary.
  • Notice of Publication: This is the notice that you must publish in a local newspaper if you do not know where the other parent resides.  
  • Motion to Waive Notice & Publication: This is a request for the court to waive the requirement of notifying the other parent of the name change. Courts will grant this request if notifying the other parent would endanger the child.  In such circumstances, his may be filed in place of the Notice of Motion and Notice of Publication.

Most counties require that these forms be electronically filed in most cases.  When the forms are filed you will receive a hearing date and location.  This must be included in your Notice of Motion.  

What Notice to the Other Parent is Required for a Child’s Name Change?

Notice to the other parent of a child’s name change is only required when the other parent does not agree to the name change.  If the other parent agrees to the name change, he or she can sign the Request for Name Change form in order to waive the notice requirement.  

If notice is required, the Notice of Motion must be sent to the other parent’s last known address by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested.

If you do not know where the other parent resides, you are required to publish notice of the name change petition in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the child resides.  When the publication is complete, you will receive a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper, which you should bring to the name change hearing.

What Happens if the Other Parent Objects to a Child’s Name Change?

If the other parent objects to the child’s name change, he or she must file a formal objection with the court prior to the name change hearing.  If the other parent files an objection, there are two issues that the court must decide in order to determine whether to permit the name change over the other parent’s objection:

  1. If the objecting party is the biological father, has the biological father established paternity?
  2. Is the name change in the best interest of the child?

In order for the court to entertain a father’s objection to a child’s name change, the father must have first established paternity.  To learn more about this, check out our article, Illinois Paternity Law Explained.  Note that this is only necessary if the parents weren’t married when the child was born.

If the parentage of the objecting parent has already been established, then the court will make its determination of whether to grant the name change on the best interests of the child.  This essentially means that the parent seeking the name change must show that the name change will make the child’s life easier.  The level of involvement that the other parent has in the child’s life tends to be  a major factor in the court’s decision.

What Happens at a Name Change Hearing for a Minor Child?

When you appear at the name change hearing you should bring:

  • A photo ID;
  • File-stamped copies of all of the documents you filed with the clerk;
  • The certified mail green card showing service of notice to the other parent (if applicable); and
  • Certificate of Publication (if newspaper publication was required).

If the other parent objects to the name change, each parent will have the opportunity to make arguments and present evidence showing why the name change is or is not in the child’s best interests.  

If the other parent does not object to the name change, the judge may ask a few simple questions about the child and the reason for the name change.  

If the name change is granted, the judge will sign your Order for Change of Name.  You should file this document with the court and then use the document to update the child’s birth certificate and social security card.  

For more on how to change the birth certificate, check out our article: How to Correct an Illinois Birth Certificate.

For more on Illinois name change, check out our article: How to Legally Change Your Name in Illinois and How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in Illinois.

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How to Legally Change a Child’s Name in Illinois | What if the Father Objects to a MInor’s Name Change?

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