Name Changes

A name change is a legal procedure in the State of New Jersey that is followed when you change either your complete name or a part of your name. Examples of this are a minor change such as changing your middle initial or a complete change such as selecting a new last name. Name changes are requested for a number of reasons. They include changing  a child’s name to conform to the last name of the rest of a family, changing back to a maiden name when not done so at the time of a divorce, or just not liking one’s birth name. Due to the new Homeland Security Regulations many people have found that DMV will not renew their Driver’s Licenses because the name they have always been known by does not match their birth certificate. The remedy to this situation is to obtain a name change from the birth name to the name a person is using.

Regardless of the reason, the procedure in New Jersey is the same. A Complaint for Name Change must be filed in the Superior Court in the County in which the person resides. An Order Fixing a Hearing Date is submitted and the Judge signs it and assigns a date when the matter will be heard. The Complaint and the Order are served upon various governmental agencies who are given an opportunity to file an objection to the change of name if they so choose. Proof of this service must be filed with the Court. They are also published in the local paper in the legal notice section. The individual seeking the name change must then appear in Court for the Hearing. If the Judge is satisfied that the person has a legitimate reason to change his or her name and is not seeking to do so for any improper purpose then the Judge will grant the name change and sign an Order. This Order must then be published in the local paper and filed with the Secretary of State of New Jersey. The Judge also assigns a date on which the person may begin using their new name.

The process of obtaining a name change usually takes between 60 and 90 days, but may take longer depending upon the County in which it is filed.   It is technically demanding because if the requirements are not followed exactly every step of the way, from the proper information being provided in the Complaint, to the proper service, publication, and filing, the Court will deny the application. Wolf Law has over 35 years of experience in handling name change applications for our clients. We will give you a reasonable fixed fee including all costs, expenses, and fees, and handle your name change in a professional and timely manner.  If you are changing the name of multiple family members and we are able to include them in a single application, the cost may be reduced.    We look forward to working with you and invite you to contact us for more information or to get started.