North Dakota Name Change Law

Name Change – General – North Dakota

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

Name Change Action Allowed: In North Dakota, a person may change their name by filing an action in the District 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 may not find (1) that Petitioner has been a resident of the county for at least six months prior to filing the Petition; or, (2) that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner, or, (3) that thirty days’ previous notice of the intended application has been given in the official newspaper of the county in which the petitioner resides; or, (4) that the allegations of the petition are true.  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 the court may consider their wishes when considering whether to grant the Petition.

Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find compliance with the statutory requirements, that proper and reasonable cause for the name change exists 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.  Notice of the filing of the petition with a statement of the relief requested and the date of future filing must be published in the official newspaper of the county in which Petitioner resides.

Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The general public by publication in a newspaper designated by the court as being the newspaper for publication of official notice.

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 proper and reasonable cause for the change exists and 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 North Dakota begins with the publication of the Petition in the official newspaper of the county in which the Petitioner resides.  This must be done thirty (30) prior to the filing of the Petition in the District Court in the jurisdiction in which Petitioner resides.  The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s name, that the Petitioner has been a resident of the county for at least six (6) months, the name the Petitioner wishes to adopt, and the reasons for the requested change of name.

After Notice has been published and the thirty days has elapsed and the Petition is filed, the Court may proceed to order the change of name.

Additional Information and Instructions

Statutes:

Court authorized to change name of persons and cities: The district court shall have the authority to change the names of persons and cities within this state.  [N.D.Code, Title 32 Judicial Remedies, Chapter 32-28 Change of Names of Persons and Places, Sec. 32-28-01.]

Change of name of person – Petition:

1. Any person desiring to change that person’s name may file a petition in the district court of the county in which the person is a resident, setting forth:

a. That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the county for at least six months before the filing of the petition.

b. The reason for which the change of the petitioner’s name is sought.

c. The name requested.

2. The judge of the district court, upon being duly satisfied by affidavit or proof in open court of the truth of the allegations set forth in the petition, that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner, and that thirty days’ previous notice of the intended application has been given in the official newspaper of the county in which the petitioner resides, shall order a change of the name of the petitioner. Proper and reasonable cause does not exist if the court determines that the request for a name change is made to defraud or mislead, is not made in good faith, will cause injury to an individual, or will compromise public safety. The court may waive publication of the notice when the proposed change relates only to a first or given name as distinguished from a surname or upon evidence satisfactory to the court that the petitioner has been the victim of domestic violence as defined in section 14-07.1-01.

3. If the person whose name is to be changed is a minor, the court shall consider the appointment of a guardian ad litem, and notice of the intended application must be published in the official newspaper of the county in which the minor resides and, if different, the official newspaper of the county in which each of the minor’s parents reside. If the minor has a noncustodial parent, a copy of the notice must be deposited in a post office in this state, postage prepaid, not later than ten days after the publication of the notice, and directed to the noncustodial parent’s last reasonably ascertained post-office address. An affidavit of mailing of the notice prepared in accordance with the North Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure must be filed with the court. [N.D.Code, Title 32 Judicial Remedies, Chapter 32-28 Change of Names of Persons and Places, Sec. 32-28-02.]

Costs-Change not to affect rights or pending actions.
All proceedings under this chapter shall be at the cost of the petitioner or petitioners, and judgment may be entered against the petitioner or petitioners for costs as in other civil actions. Any change of name under the provisions of this chapter in no manner shall affect or alter any action or legal proceedings then pending, or any right, title, or interest whatsoever.

Other Name Change References

Minors defined:
Minors are persons under eighteen years of age. In this code, unless otherwise specified, the term “child” means “minor”. Age must be calculated from the first minute of the day on which persons are born to the same minute of the corresponding day completing the period of minority.[N.D.Code, Title 14 Domestic Relations and Persons, Chapter 14-10 Minors, Sec. 14-10-01.]

Adults defined:
All persons eighteen years of age and over are adults.  [N.D.Code, Title 14 Domestic Relations and Persons, Chapter 14-10 Minors, Sec. 14-10-02.]


Inside North Dakota Name Change Law