Name Change – General – New Hampshire
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action for change of name in New Hampshire, but does include basic and other provisions.
Name Change Action Allowed: In New Hampshire, an adult may change their name by filing an action in the Probate Court with appropriate forms.
Who is an adult? A person who has attained the age of 18 years is considered an adult.
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.
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 to grant the Petition.
Must the parent(s) of the minor agree to the name change? No, but their objections might be sufficient to persuade the Probate Court not to grant the change of name petition.
Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find 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? Not required by the statute, but, it is left to the discretion of the Probate Court.
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 in the State of New Hampshire begins with the filing of a Petition with the Probate 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 change of name.
After the Petition is filed and the required fee is paid, the Court may or may not require notice to the general public through publication in a local newspaper or in some other manner. After publication, if any is required, is complete, the Court may proceed to rule in any manner it deems proper.
Additonal Information and Instructions
Change of Name:
I. The probate court may grant the petition of any person to change the name of that person or the name of another person. The court shall not require the petitioner to obtain consents to the name change. The court may proceed with or without notice, in accordance with RSA 550:4.
II. Before the probate court may grant a change of name for a person who is incarcerated, or on probation or parole, or for a person who is required, pursuant to RSA 651-B, to register as a sexual offender or an offender against children and who is no longer subject to supervision by the department of corrections, the petitioner shall make a compelling showing that a name change is necessary. For a person who is incarcerated, or on probation or parole, the petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition, pursuant to RSA 547:29, on the department of corrections. For a person who is required to register as a sexual offender or an offender against children and who is no longer subject to supervision by the department of corrections, the petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition, pursuant to RSA 547:29, on the department of safety. Upon ruling on the petition, the probate court shall issue a copy of its order to the department of corrections or, if the petitioner is no longer subject to the supervision of the department of corrections, to the department of safety. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann., Title 56 Probate Courts And Decedents’ Estates, Chapter 547 Judges of Probate and Their Jurisdiction, § 547:3-i.]
Other Name Change References
In any proceeding under this chapter, except an action for legal separation, the court may, when a decree of divorce or nullity is made, restore a former name of the spouse, regardless of whether a request therefor had been included in the libel. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann., Title 43 Domestic Relations, Chapter 458 Annulment, Divorce And Separation, § 458:24.]
Cases Requiring No Notice. – The probate court may, at the discretion of the judge, proceed without notice in the following cases:
. . .
XI. In changing the names of persons who reside in the county and who apply therefor.
. . .
[N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann., Title LVI Probate Courts and Decedents’ Estates, Chapter 550: Citations And Notice, §550:4.]
Age of Majority Changed:
The common law rule that a person is a minor to the age of 21 is hereby abrogated. A person who has reached his eighteenth birthday is hereby declared to be of majority for all purposes, except as prohibited by the constitution of New Hampshire and of the United States. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann., Title I The state and its Government, Chapter 21-b Common Law rule Abrogated, §21-B:1.]