Missouri Name Change Law


Name Change – General – Missouri

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

Name Change Action Allowed: In Missouri, a person may change their name and the names of other members of their family by filing a joint petition in the circuit 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 and the names of other members of their family? Yes.  The court must find that the requested name change is proper and not detrimental to the interests of anyone else.  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.

Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find that the desired change is proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person. A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.

Is Publication of a Notice Required? Yes.  Within 20 days of the Order granting the change of name, the Petitioner must publish the change of name once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the petitioner resides.

Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The General Public is given notice by publication.  Also, any parent of a minor child who is not joining in the petition would be entitled to service of notice of the petition and hearing by certified or registered mail.

Can individuals “object” to my Petition for Name Change? Yes.  Any reasonable objections made to the court may influence the court’s findings as to whether the change of name is consistent with the public interest.

Procedures: The process for obtaining a name change for an adult, and other members of the family, in the State of Missouri, begins with the filing of a Joint Petition with the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction in which Petitioners reside.  The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s name, the name the Petitioner wishes to adopt, the names of the other members of the family and the names they wish to adopt, and the reasons for the requested change of name.

Any parent of a minor child who is not joining in the petition would be entitled to service of notice of the petition and hearing by certified or registered mail.

If a parent or parents do not consent to the requested name change, a copy of the petition together with a notice stating the date of the hearing shall be served on each known parent not consenting not less than thirty days before the date of the hearing. The service shall be by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address of the non-consenting parent. Service shall be proved by the certificate of the clerk that he has mailed a copy of the petition and notice by registered or certified mail.

The requested name change will be granted if the court is satisfied with the basis of the request and that it is not detrimental to the interests of anyone else.

Within 20 days of the Order granting the change of name, the Petitioner must publish the change of name once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the petitioner resides.

Additional Information and Instructions

Statutes:

Petition, where presented–contents–proceedings:
Hereafter every person desiring to change his or her name may present a petition to that effect, verified by affidavit, to the circuit court in the county of the petitioner’s residence, which petition shall set forth the petitioner’s full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change; and it shall be the duty of the judge of such court to order such change to be made, and spread upon the records of the court, in proper form, if such judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person. Mo.Rev.Stat., Title XXXVI Statutory Actions and Torts, Chapter 527 Change of Name, Section 527.270.

Fees to be paid by petitioner:
The fees for proceedings under sections 527.270 to 527.290 shall be the same as are now or may hereafter be allowed in similar cases in said court, to be paid by the petitioner. Mo.Rev.Stat., Title XXXVI Statutory Actions and Torts, Chapter 527 Change of Name, Section 527.280.

Notice of change to be given, when and how:

1. Public notice of such a change of name shall be given at least three times in a newspaper published in the county where such person is residing, within twenty days after the order of court is made, and if no newspaper is published in his or any adjacent county, then such notice shall be given in a newspaper published in the city of St. Louis, or at the seat of government.
2. Public notice of such name change through publication as required in subsection 1 of this section shall not be required if the petitioner is:
(1) The victim of a crime, the underlying factual basis of which is found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, as defined in section 455.200, (2) The victim of child abuse, as defined in section 210.110; or (3) The victim of abuse by a family or household member, as defined in section 455.010, Mo.Rev.Stat., Title XXXVI Statutory Actions and Torts, Chapter 527 Change of Name, Section 527.290.

Court Rules:

Petition for Change of Name; Contents:
The petition for change of name shall be verified and shall state:

(a) The present name of petitioner and the name desired;

(b) The reason for such desired change;

(c) That the petitioner is a resident of the county in which the change of name is sought;

(d) The date and place of birth of petitioner and petitioner’s father’s name and mother’s maiden name;

(e) If petitioner is married the name of petitioner’s spouse and if petitioner has children the names and ages of each and their place of residence;

(f) If petitioner’s name has previously been changed, when and where and by what court;

(g) Whether any judgment for money which has not been satisfied is pending against petitioner and, if so, the style of the case wherein the judgment was entered and the court in which the judgment was entered;

(h) Whether any action for money is pending against petitioner and, if so, the style of the case and the court in which it is pending; and

(i) That the change of name will not be detrimental to any other person. Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 95. Change of Name, Rule 95.01.

Joint Petition for Family:
Parents and minor children may join in a petition for change of name and the petition shall state the facts herein required of the parents and the name of the minor children may be changed at the discretion of the court. Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 95. Change of Name, RULE 95.02.

Petition for Change of Minor’s Name; Notice to or Consent of Parent:
When a minor files a petition for change of name the written consent of each known parent shall be filed. If the written consent of each known parent is not filed, a copy of the petition together with a notice stating the date of the hearing shall be served on each known parent not consenting not less than thirty days before the date of the hearing. The service shall be by registered or certified mail addressed to the last known address of the non-consenting parent. Service shall be proved by the certificate of the clerk that he has mailed a copy of the petition and notice by registered or certified mail. Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 95. Change of Name, RULE 95.03.

Order of Change of Name, When:
The court shall order the desired change of name if it finds that the change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person. Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 95. Change of Name, RULE 95.04.

Publication of Notice of Change of Name:
When a change of name is granted notice of the change shall be published at least once each week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county where the change of name was granted. If there is no such newspaper, then the publication shall be in a newspaper designated by the court. Proof of the publication shall be filed with the clerk within ten days after the date of last publication. Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 95. Change of Name, RULE 95.05.

Other Name Change References:

Definitions:
As used in sections 211.442 to 211.487, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms mean:

(1) “Child”, an individual under eighteen years of age;

(2) “Minor”, any person who has not attained the age of eighteen years;

(3) “Parent”, a biological parent or parents of a child, as well as, the husband of a natural mother at the time the child was conceived, or a parent or parents of a child by adoption, including both the mother and the putative father of a child. The putative father of a child shall have no legal relationship unless he, prior to the entry of a decree under sections 211.442 to 211.487, has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmatively asserting his paternity.

Mo.Rev.Stat., Title XII Public Health and Welfare, Chapter 211 Juvenile Courts, §211.442