Maine Name Change Law


Name Change – General – Maine

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action for change of name in Maine, but does include basic and other provisions.

Name Change Action Allowed: In Maine, a person may change their name by filing an action in the Probate Court with appropriate forms.

Who is an adult? A person who has attained the age of 18 years is considered an adult.

Who is a minor? A person who has not attained the age of 18 years is considered a minor.

Is there any reason why a person might not be allowed to change his or her name? Yes.  The court must find that the requested name change is consistent with the public interest.  A person is not allowed to change their name in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations.  A person can not change their name to defraud any person.

Must the child agree to the name change? No, but the court may consider the wishes of a child old enough to express their wishes in considering whether to grant the Petition.

Must the parent(s) of the minor agree to the name change? No, but they will be served a copy of the Petition and have an opportunity to be heard regarding the merits. The court may consider their wishes when decciding whether to grant the Petition.

Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must finds sufficient reasons for the change and also find it consistent with the public interest. A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.

Is Publication of a Notice Required? No.

Procedures: The Petitioner files the petition with the probate court in the county where the person resides.  After consideration of the Petition, the court then may a rule on the Petition.

Additonal Information and Instructions

Statutes:

Petition to change name:

(a) If a person desires to have that person’s name changed, the person may petition the judge of probate in the county where the person resides. If the person is a minor, the person’s legal custodian may petition in the person’s behalf.
(b) The judge, after due notice, may change the name of the person. To protect the person’s safety, the judge may limit the notice required if the person shows by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1) The person is a victim of abuse; and
(2) The person is currently in reasonable fear of the person’s safety.

(c) The judge shall make and preserve a record of the name change. If the judge limited the notice required under subsection (b), the judge may seal the records of the name change.
(d) The fee for filing the name change petition is $40.
(e) The judge may require the person seeking a name change to undergo one or more of the following background checks: a criminal history record check; a motor vehicle record check; or a credit check. The judge may require the person to pay the cost of each background check required.
(f) The judge may not change the name of the person if the judge has reason to believe that the person is seeking the name change for purposes of defrauding another person or entity or for purposes otherwise contrary to the public interest.
Maine Statutes, Title 18-A Probate Code, Article I General Provisions, Definitions and Jurisdiction, § 1-701.

Other Name Change References:

Name change:
Upon the request of either spouse to change that person’s own name, the court, when entering judgment for divorce:

1. Former name. Shall change the name of that spouse to a former name requested; or
2. Any other name requested. May change the name of that spouse to any other name requested. Maine Statutes, Title 19-A Domestic Relations, Part 2 Married Persons, Chapter 29 Divorce, Subchapter IV Change of Name, § 1051.

Definitions:
As used in this Title, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

1. Adult. “Adult” means a person who is 18 years of age or older.
2. Child. “Child” means a person who has not attained 18 years of age.

Maine Statutes, Title 19-A Domestic Relations, Part 1 General Provisions, Chapter 1 General Provisions, § 101