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How Do I Legally Change My Name in Iowa

Updated on
January 14, 2021
Article written by
Joseph Lyons

In Iowa there are two ways for a person to change their name: in a divorce, or upon filing a petition for name change. This article will discuss: 

  • How does a party change their name in a divorce decree? 
  • How does a party petition to change their name outside a divorce? 
  • What persons must be given notice of the petition? 
  • Under what circumstances will the requirement for both parties to consent be waived? 
  • Will other state agencies be given notice of the name change? 
  • Is there a limit to how many times a person can change their name? 

 

How does a party change their name in a divorce decree? 

The first way a party may change their name is as part of a divorce case under Iowa Code Chapter 598.37. Either party may request, as part of a dissolution decree, a change in the person’s name to either the name appearing on their birth certificate, or the name the person had immediately before marriage. 

 

How does a party petition to change their name outside of a divorce? 

The second way to change someone’s name is to file a Petition for Change of Name under Iowa Code Chapter 674. This petition requires a $195 filing fee. The person filing the petition must have reached the age of majority, and not have any civil disabilities.  

This petition may request a name change for minor children of the petitioner as well as the petitioner, or may file a petition for name change on behalf of the minor child. The petition must state: 

  • The name at the time the petition is filed for each person seeking a name changed 
  • The person’s county of residence 
  • If the person is a minor, the petition must state the name of the petitioner and the petitioner’s relationship to the minor child 
  • A description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, race, sex, and date and place of birth 
  • Residence at time of the petition, and any residences for the past five years 
  • Reason for the change of name, briefly and concisely stated. 
  • A legal description of all real property in this state owned by the petitioner 
  • The name the petitioner proposes to take. 
  • A certified copy of the birth certificate, to be attached to the petition. If the birth certificate is not available, the reason for unavailability must be stated and another form of identification, which might include immigration and naturalization service, shall be attached in lieu of the certified copy of the birth certificate.  

After the petition is filed, there is a thirty-day waiting period. If approved, the decree will describe the petitioner, giving the name and former name, height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes, race, sex, date and place of birth, the given name of the spouse, and any minor children affected by the change, as well as a description of legal property.  

 

What persons must be given notice of the petition? 

If the petitioner is married, they must give legal notice to the spouse in the manner of an original notice of the filing of the petition.  

If the petition includes, or is filed by a minor child age fourteen or older, the child must give written consent of the name change 

If the child is under fourteen, both parents as stated on the birth certificate must file their written consent to the name change. If one parent does not consent, a hearing will be set on the petition on twenty days’ notice to the non-consenting parent. 

 

Under what circumstances will the requirement for both parents to consent be waived? 

At the hearing, the court may waive the consent requirement as to one parent if that parent has abandoned the child, the parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child or to financially aid in the child’s birth and has failed to do so without good cause, or the parent does not object to the name change after having been given due and proper notice.  

Will other state agencies be given notice of the name change? 

A certified copy of the decree will be given to the petitioner. The Iowa department of public health will be sent an abstract of a decree requiring a name change to be reflected on a birth certificate to the state registrar of vital statistics of the Iowa department of public health on a form provided by the state registrar. The clerk will also send a copy to the county reporter in every county in this state where real property is owned by the petitioner.  

Is there a limit to how many tames a person could change their name? 

A person cannot change their name under Chapter 674 more than once unless just cause is shown. However, Chapter 674 does not prohibit name changes in divorce decrees. 


How Do I Legally Change My Name in Iowa
Author

Joseph Lyons

Joseph Lyons has been a practicing attorney for two years, practicing in the fields of Family Law, Guardianship, Probate, and Real Estate Law.

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