Name Change – General – Arkansas
Related Arkansas Legal Forms
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all-inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action for change of name in Arkansas, but does include basic and other provisions.
Name Change Action Allowed:
In Arkansas, the name of a person may be changed by filing an action in the chancery or 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? Yes. The court must find that the requested name change is based on “good reasons”. Good reasons are generally those that are consistent with the public interest and the best interests of the minor. A person is not allowed to obtain a name change in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations. A person cannot have their name changed in order 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 good reasons exist for the requested name change.
Must the parent(s) of the minor agree to the name change? There is no specific requirement that the parents agree to the requested name change but their objection might have significant bearing on the court’s determination whether the Petitioner has “good reasons” for the requested name change. It is recommended that the parents either consents to the name change, or, in the alternative, they are served with a summons and a copy of the Petition immediately after it is filed. Then, if they present objections to the court, the court may make the determination whether there are “good reasons” for the name change under all the circumstances.
Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find “good 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.
Who must be provided notice of the Petition? Any parent that has not consented to the requested name change should be given notice by the service of a summons and a copy of the petition.
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 based on good reasons and consistent with the public interest.
After the court grants the Petition for Change of Name of the minor, may a new birth certificate be issued? Yes. The exact procedure may be determined by contacting:
Arkansas Dept of Health
Division of Vital Records
4815 West Markham Street, Slot 44
Little Rock, AR 72205
(800) 637-9314 toll free
Fax: (501) 663-2832
Procedures: The process for obtaining a name change for a minor in the State of Arkansas begins with the filing of a Petition for Change of Name with the Chancery or Circuit Court in the jurisdiction in which Petitioner resides. The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s name, the name the Petitioner wishes to adopt, and the reasons for the requested name change.
Any parent that has not consented to the requested name change must be served with a summons and a copy of the Petition in order to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to either present their objections to the court or consent to the requested name change.
After the Petition is filed and the required fee is paid, the Court may or may not set the Petition for a hearing. If a Hearing is scheduled, the Court may inquire into the circumstances surrounding the Petition and the reasons for the name change request. If, from the Petition, with or without a hearing, it appears to the court that the Petitioner is entitled to the requested relief, the court will issue an Order allowing the requested name change. Thereafter the Petitioner is entitled to use the new name.
Additional Information and Instructions:
(a) Upon the application of any person within the jurisdiction of the court, the circuit court shall have power, upon good reasons shown, to alter or change the name of the person.
(b) When application is made to the court under this section, it shall be by petition in writing embodying the reasons for the application.
(1) When allowed, the petition shall by order of the court be spread upon the record, together with the decree of the court.
(2) An appropriate order, as prescribed in this subsection, may be made by a circuit judge in vacation. This order shall have the same force and effect as if made at term time. [Title 9 Family Law, Chapter 2 Change of Name, Section 9-2-101.