Delaware Name Change Law

Name Change – General – Delaware

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

Name Change Action Allowed: In Delaware, a person may change their name by filing a Petition in the Court of Common Pleas with appropriate forms.

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

Is Publication of a Notice Required? Yes.

Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The General Public through publication in a local newspaper once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks.

Procedures: The Petitioner begins the name change process by filing a verified Petition for Change of Name in the Court of Common Pleas sitting in the county in which the Petitioner resides.  The Petition is required to set forth the Petitioner’s present full name and the full name they wish to assume.

The Petitioner then must publish the Petition in a local newspaper once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks.  Once proof of publication has been filed with the court, the court may rule on the Petition.

Statutes:

Petition for change of name:

(a) Any person who desires to change his or her name, shall present a petition, duly verified, to the Court of Common Pleas sitting in the county in which the person resides. The petition shall set forth such person’s name and the name he or she desires to assume.

(b) Family Court shall have jurisdiction over a change of name as part of divorce proceedings or as part of the establishment of paternity under the Uniform Parentage Act.

(c) The common law right of any person to change his or her name is hereby abrogated as to individuals subject to the supervision of the State of Delaware Department of Correction. Such individuals may only effect a name change by petitioning the Court of Common Pleas as follows:

(1) Individuals subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction shall be prohibited from adopting any names other than their legal names or otherwise effecting name changes, except as provided in this subsection.

(2) When, based upon testimony or sworn affidavits, the Court finds that a petition for a name change of an individual subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief or gender identity, the Court may grant such petition. In any case in which an individual subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction petitions the Court of Common Pleas for a change of name, the Court shall provide notice and opportunity to oppose the name change to the Department of Correction and shall permit it to submit any appropriate documentation in support of its opposition.

(3) If an individual is granted a name change pursuant to paragraph 2 of this subsection, he or she must provide all names previously held or adopted, as well as his or her legal name when signing any legal document or providing information to a law enforcement officer.

(4) The granting of any name changes pursuant to this subsection shall not restrict the Department of Correction from maintaining institutional files or otherwise referring to individuals by the names under which they became subject to the Department’s supervision.

[Delaware Code, Title 10 – Courts and Judicial Procedure, Part IV – Special Proceedings, Chapter 59 – Change of Name, § 5901

Requirements for minor’s petition:
If the name sought to be changed under this chapter is that of a minor, the petition shall be signed by at least 1 of the minor’s parents, if there is a parent living, or if both parents are dead, by the legal guardian of such minor. When the minor is over the age of 14, the petition shall also be signed by the minor. [Delaware Code, Title 10 – Courts and Judicial Procedure, Part IV – Special Proceedings, Chapter 59 – Change of Name, § 5902]

Publication of petition prior to filing:
No petition for change of name under this chapter shall be granted unless it affirmatively appears that the petition or a notice thereof has been published in a newspaper published in the county in which the proceeding is had, at least once a week for 3 weeks before the petition is filed. [Delaware Code, Title 10 – Courts and Judicial Procedure, Part IV – Special Proceedings, Chapter 59 – Change of Name, § 5903]

Determination by Court:
Upon presentation of a petition for change of name under this chapter, and it appearing that the requirements of this chapter have been fully complied with, and there appearing no reason for not granting the petition, the prayer of the petition may be granted. [Delaware Code, Title 10 – Courts and Judicial Procedure, Part IV – Special Proceedings, Chapter 59 – Change of Name, § 5904]

Costs:
The costs of any proceeding under this chapter shall be paid by the petitioner. [Delaware Code, Title 10 – Courts and Judicial Procedure, Part IV – Special Proceedings, Chapter 59 – Change of Name, § 5905]

Court Rules:

Petitions for Change of Name:

(a) A petition which seeks a change of name for a minor shall be signed by at least one of the minor’s parents, if there is a parent living, or if both parents are dead, by the legal guardian of such minor. When the minor is over the age of fourteen, the petition shall also be signed by the minor.

(b) If one or both parents are dead, the petition shall state the date of death of such parent or parents.

(c) If the petition is signed by only one parent, it shall be served, before presentation, upon the parent who did not join in the petition. If personal service cannot be made, substituted service shall be made as the Court directs.


Inside Delaware Name Change Law