How to Legally Change Your Name in Oklahoma
There are five ways that a person can legally change their name in Oklahoma:
In a civil action for name change;
In a paternity case;
By a divorce decree; or
Civil action for name change
If you have resided in Oklahoma, or on a military reservation in Oklahoma, for at least thirty days, you may file a petition for name change. (Except: you may not petition for a name change if you are required to register as a sex offender.) You must file your petition in the office of the court clerk in the county in which you have resided for the past thirty days. In your petition, you must state:
Your name and address;
That you have resided in Oklahoma, and in the county in which you are filing, for the past thirty days;
Your date and place of birth;
Your birth certificate number, and the place where your birth was registered (if your birth was registered);
The new name you desire;
The reasons you want your name to be changed;
That your name change is not sought for any illegal or fraudulent purpose, or to delay or hinder creditors.
Changing the name of a minor
To change the name of a minor child, the child’s parents or guardian must file the petition. If the parents are divorced or separated, and one parent wants to change the child’s name, the parent desiring to change the child’s name must personally notify the other parent. The form of notice must conform to the Oklahoma statutes; click here to see the legally sufficient ways you may give notice. If the other parent objects to the name change, the court may not change the child’s name.
After you file the petition – the hearing
After you file your petition to change your name, the judge will give you a hearing date. You must publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper in the county, at least ten days before the hearing. The notice must contain the case number, the time and place of the hearing. The published notice must also say that any person may file a protest, in writing, before the hearing. The judge may waive the requirement of publication for “good cause”; sometimes judges waive publication requirement in cases of domestic violence.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you if the information you have given in your petition is true and correct. Unless the judge finds that you are changing your name for an “illegal or fraudulent purpose” or that you have lied in your petition, the judge is required to authorize the name change. Give the judge an order for name change, for the judge to sign. As soon as the judge signs this order, your legal name change takes effect. After the judge signs the order, take the order to the court clerk’s office and file it.
Preparing the forms to file
You may prepare the forms yourself, or you may ask a lawyer to prepare them. Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma has forms available to change the name of an adult; click here to see copies of these forms. These forms will not work to change the name of a child; the forms will also not work if you want to ask the judge to waive the publication requirement.
If someone else prepares name change forms for you, make sure that this person is a licensed attorney. There are a number of businesses that claim to help people prepare name change forms, but these businesses do not employ licensed attorneys. Only an attorney may prepare documents for you to file in court. If you would like help preparing legal name change forms, you may contact my office.
Changing a child’s name in a paternity case
If a child is born out of wedlock, there are two ways to change a child’s name in a paternity case:
By court order. A court may order that a child’s last name be changed to that of the child’s father. After the court orders the name change, send the order to the State Health Department and they will change the name on the birth certificate.
By an acknowledgment of paternity. If both parents sign an acknowledgment of paternity, you may send the acknowledgment of paternity to the State Health Department, and they will amend the birth certificate to change the child’s last name to the father’s last name. Click here to see how to sign an acknowledgment of paternity. Also, if parents rescind an acknowledgment of paternity, you may send the rescission to the State Health Department, and they will change the child’s last name back to the mother’s last name. Click here to see how to rescind an acknowledgment of paternity.
Changing a name in a marriage, divorce, or adoption
This is not complicated. When people get married, either spouse may change their name simply by filling out the desired new name on the marriage license. In a divorce case, the wife may have her name changed back to her former name, simply by having the name change written into the divorce decree. (Also, if the husband changed his name as a result of the marriage, the husband may have his name restored by the divorce decree). In an adoption, the adoptive parents may change the child’s name simply by having the name change written into the final decree of adoption.