Name Change – General – Georgia
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 Georgia, a person may change their name by filing an action in the Superior Court in the county in which they reside 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.
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? Yes.
Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The General Public by way of publication in the official county newspaper once a week for four consecutive weeks.
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: File the initial petition in the Superior Court in the county where Petitioner resides. Within seven days of filing, the petitioner must publish a notice of the filing in the local legal newspaper. The notice must include the name of the petitioner, the new name the petition is seeking to assume, the court in which the action is pending, the date on which the action was filed, and the right of any interested party to appear and file objections.
Thirty days from the date of filing, and after proof of publication is filed with the court, no objections having been filed, the court will rule on the petition and render a final decree or judgment on the petition.
After the entry of the final judgment, the clerk will issue to Petitioner a “Certificate of Name Change”. This certificate is an authoritative statement of the relief granted and may be presented as evidence of the judgment changing the petitioner’s name.
Title 19 Domestic Relations
Chapter 12 Name Change
(a) Any person desirous of changing his name or the name or names of his minor child or children may present a petition to the superior court of the county of his residence, setting forth fully and particularly the reasons why the change is asked, which petition shall be verified by the petitioner.
(b) Within seven days of the filing of the petition, the petitioner shall cause a notice of the filing, signed by him, to be published in the official legal organ of the county once a week for four weeks. The notice shall contain therein the name of the petitioner, the name of the person whose name is to be changed if different from that of the petitioner, the new name desired, the court in which the petition is pending, the date on which the petition was filed, and the right of any interested or affected party to appear and file objections.
(c) If the petition seeks to change the name of a minor child, the written consent of his parent or parents if they are living and have not abandoned the child, or the written consent of the child’s guardian if both parents are dead or have abandoned the child, shall be filed with the petition, except that the written consent of a parent shall not be required if the parent has not contributed to the support of the child for a continuous period of five years or more immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
(d) In all cases, before a minor child’s name may be changed, the parent or parents of the child shall be served with a copy of the petition. If the parent or parents reside within this state, service of the petition shall be made in person, except that if the location or address of the parent is unknown, service of the petition on the parent shall be made by publication as provided in this Code section. If the parent or parents reside outside this state, service of the petition on the parent or parents residing outside this state shall be made by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery if the address is known or by publication as provided in this Code section if the address is not known.
(e) Where a child resides with persons other than his parent or parents, a copy of the petition shall be served upon the person acting as guardian of the child in the same manner as service would be made on a parent.
(f) Upon the expiration of:
(1) Thirty days from the filing of the petition if the person whose name to be changed is an adult;
(2) Thirty days from the date of service upon the parent, parents, or guardian of a minor whose name is to be changed if the parent, parents, or guardian reside within this state; or
(3) Sixty days from the date of service upon the parent, parents, or guardian of a minor whose name is to be changed if either the parent, parents, or guardian reside outside the state and the petition is served by mail, and after proof to the court of publication of the notice required in this Code section is made, if no objection is filed, the court shall proceed at chambers at such date as the court shall fix to hear and determine all matters raised by the petition and to render final judgment or decree thereon. For such service, the clerk shall receive the fees prescribed in Code Section 15-6-77, relating to fees of clerks of the superior courts for civil cases.
Ga. Code Ann. § 19-12-1 (2004)
If written objections are filed by any interested or affected party within the time limits specified in subsection (f) of Code Section 19-12-1, the court shall thereupon proceed to hear the matter at chambers.
Ga. Code Ann. § 19-12-2 (2004)
(a) At any time after the entry of the final order of change of name, upon the request of the petitioner requesting the change of name, the clerk of the court granting the same shall issue to the petitioner a certificate of change of name, under the seal of the court, upon payment to the clerk of the fee provided in paragraph (4) of subsection (g) of Code Section 15-6-77. The certificate shall be received as evidence of the facts contained in the certificate.
(b) The certificate of change of name shall be in substantially the following form:
This is to certify that _______________________ (name of petitioner) has obtained final order of change of name in the Superior Court of ________ County, Georgia, on the ______ day of ______________, ____, as shown by the records of the court.
The name (or names) of _______________________ (full name prior to entry of the final order of change of name) has (or have) been changed to _______________________ (full name after entry of the final order of change of name).
Given under the hand and seal of said court, this the ______ day of ___________,____.
(Seal of court)
Ga. Code Ann. § 19-12-3 (2004)
Nothing contained in this chapter shall authorize any person to change his name with a view to deprive another fraudently of any right under the law. Ga. Code Ann. § 19-12-4 (2004)
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