Illinois Name Change Law

Name Change – General – Illinois

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

Name Change Action Allowed: In Illinois,a person may change their name by filing an action 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 petitioner might not be allowed to change the name of a minor? Yes. The court must find that the statutory requirements have been satisfied and that there does not appear to be a reason why it should not be granted. The name change as to a minor will be granted only when the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necesary to serve the best interests of the child. A person is not allowed to change the name of a minor in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against the minor, or to avoid the minor’s debts and obligations. A person can not change the name of a minor to defraud any person.

Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find first that the statutory requirements have been met and second that there does not appear to be any reason why it should not be granted.  A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.

Is Publication of a Notice Required? Yes.  Notice of the name change must be filed prior to a hearing on the petition.

Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The General Public is given notice by publication.

Procedures: The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in the State of Illinois begins with the filing of a Petition with the Circuit Court in the county in which Petitioner resides.  The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s name, the name the Petitioner wishes to adopt, the Petitioner’s residence, and the state or country of Petitioners birth.  The Petition must be verified by the affidavit of some credible person.

The Petitioner must then publish notice of the intended application for change of name once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper in the jurisdiction where the minor resides. A Certificate of Publication is filed with the court after publication has been completed.

When it appears to the court that the statutory requirements have been satisfied and there does appear to be any reason not to grant the application, the court may issue an order of change of name.

Statutes:

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 735 Civil Procedure, Art. XXI Change of Name

Proceedings; parties:

If any person who is a resident of this State and has resided in this State for 6 months desires to change his or her name and to assume another name by which to be afterwards called and known, the person may file a petition in the circuit court of the county wherein he or she resides praying for that relief. If it appears to the court that the conditions hereinafter mentioned have been complied with and that there is no reason why the prayer should not be granted, the court, by an order to be entered of record, may direct and provide that the name of that person be changed in accordance with the prayer in the petition. The filing of a petition in accordance with this Section shall be the sole and exclusive means by which any person committed under the laws of this State to a penal institution may change his or her name and assume another name. However, any person convicted of a felony in this State or any other state who has not been pardoned may not file a petition for a name change until 10 years have passed since completion and discharge from his or her sentence. A person who has been convicted of identity theft, aggravated identity theft, felony or misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse when the victim of the offense at the time of its commission is under 18 years of age, felony or misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a child, felony or misdemeanor indecent solicitation of a child, or felony or misdemeanor indecent solicitation of an adult, or any other offense for which a person is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act in this State or any other state who has not been pardoned shall not be permitted to file a petition for a name change in the courts of Illinois. A petitioner may include his or her spouse and adult unmarried children, with their consent, and his or her minor children where it appears to the court that it is for their best interest, in the petition and prayer, and the court’s order shall then include the spouse and children. Whenever any minor has resided in the family of any person for the space of 3 years and has been recognized and known as an adopted child in the family of that person, the application herein provided for may be made by the person having that minor in his or her family.

An order shall be entered as to a minor only if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. In determining the best interest of a minor child under this Section, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) The wishes of the child’s parents and any person acting as a parent who has physical custody of the child.

(2) The wishes of the child and the reasons for those wishes. The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child’s wishes with respect to the change of name. Counsel shall be present at the interview unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. The court shall cause a court reporter to be present who shall make a complete record of the interview instantaneously to be part of the record in the case.

(3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents or persons acting as parents who have physical custody of the child, step-parents, siblings, step-siblings, or any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.

(4) The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community. Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 735 Civil Procedure, Art. XXI Change of Name, Sec. 21-101.

Petition:
The petition shall set forth the name then held, the name sought to be assumed, the residence of the petitioner, the length of time the petitioner has resided in this State, and the state or country of the petitioner’s nativity or supposed nativity. The petition shall be signed by the person petitioning or, in case of minors, by the parent or guardian having the legal custody of the minor. The petition shall be verified by the affidavit of some credible person. Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 735 Civil Procedure, Art. XXI Change of Name, Section 21-102.

Notice by publication.

(a) Previous notice shall be given of the intended application by publishing a notice thereof in some newspaper published in the municipality in which the person resides if the municipality is in a county with a population under 2,000,000, or if the person does not reside in a municipality in a county with a population under 2,000,000, or if no newspaper is published in the municipality or if the person resides in a county with a population of 2,000,000 or more, then in some newspaper published in the county where the person resides, or if no newspaper is published in that county, then in some convenient newspaper published in this State. The notice shall be inserted for 3 consecutive weeks, the first insertion to be at least 6 weeks before the return day upon which the petition is to be filed, and shall be signed by the petitioner or, in case of a minor, the minor’s parent or guardian, and shall set forth the return day of court on which the petition is to be filed and the name sought to be assumed.

(b) The publication requirement of subsection (a) shall not be required in any application for a change of name involving a minor if, before making judgment under this Article, reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard is given to any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated and to any person who has physical custody of the child. If any of these persons are outside this State, notice and opportunity to be heard shall be given under Section 21-104.

(c) The Director of State Police or his or her designee may apply to the circuit court for an order directing that the notice and publication requirements of this Section be waived if the Director or his or her designee certifies that the name change being sought is intended to protect a witness during and following a criminal investigation or proceeding. Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 735 Civil Procedure, Art. XXI Change of Name, Sec. 21-103.

Sec. 21-104. Process and notice to persons outside this State.

(a) Process in change of name proceedings shall be governed by this Code.

(b) Notice in all change of name proceedings required for the exercise of jurisdiction over a person outside this State shall be given in a manner best calculated to give actual notice and shall be given in one of the following manners:

(1) By personal delivery outside this State in the manner prescribed for service of process within this State.

(2) In the manner prescribed by the law of the place in which the service is made for service of process in that place in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction.

(3) By any form of mail addressed to the person to be served and requesting a receipt.

(4) As directed by the court if other means of notification are ineffective.

(c) Notice under this Section shall be served, mailed, or delivered at least 10 days before any hearing in this State.

(d) Proof of service outside this State may be made by affidavit of the individual who made the service or in the manner prescribed by the law of this State, the order pursuant to which the service is made, or the law of the place in which the service is made. If service is made by mail, proof may be a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee. Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 735 Civil Procedure, Art. XXI Change of Name, Sec. 21-1-4.

Sec. 21-105. Invalidity of common law name changes.
Invalidity of common law name changes. Common law name changes adopted in this State on or after July 1, 2010 are invalid. All name changes shall be made pursuant to marriage or other legal proceedings.
Other Name Change References:

Minor defined:
A minor is a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. A person who has attained the age of 18 years is of legal age for all purposes except as otherwise provided in the Illinois Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 755 Estates, Art. XI Minors, Sec. 11-1.


Inside Illinois Name Change Law