Name Change – General – Rhode Island
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 Rhode Island, but does include basic and other provisions.
Name Change Action Allowed: In Rhode Island, a person 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.
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.
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? Not by statute, but the opposition or a parent or parents could be considered by the court in determining whether the change of name is in the best interests of the minor and the public.
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? Not by statute, but it may be ordered by the Court depending on the circumstances.
Procedures: The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in the State of Rhode Island begins with the filing of the Petition in the Probate Court. The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s full name, the full name they wish to assume and the reasons for the requested name change.
When the Petition is filed and the required fee paid, the Court may grant or deny the requested name change.
Additional Information and Instructions:
Name change: In every petition for change of name in the probate court, the judge shall grant or deny the petition without consideration of presence or absence of spousal consent. [Title 33, Probate Practice and Procedure, Chapter 33-22 Practice in Probate Courts, § 33-22-28]
Other Name Change References:
Persons of full age:
(a) Notwithstanding any general or public law or provision of the common law to the contrary, all persons who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years shall be deemed to be persons of full legal age.
(b) These persons shall have all the duties and obligations, rights, and privileges imposed or granted by law upon those persons who have previously attained the age of twenty-one (21) years.[Chap. 15-12, §15-12-1.]