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?
Changing a child’s name in Illinois is a three-step process:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
When you appear at the name change hearing you should bring:
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.