Name Change

Breitowich Law Firm is here to help remove the stress from the process a legal name change.

Among the most common reasons people seek to legally change their name are marriage, divorce, and legal separation.

Generally speaking, yes, you are able to change your name to any name desired with the following outlined exceptions. Legally, you cannot: 

  • Change your name to escape debt liability or hide from criminal liability
  • Change your name in order to commit a crime
  • Change your name with the intention to mislead, which usually involves taking the name of a famous person (courts typically do not allow this, unless you have a convincing reason that’s not related to the famous person or the use of his or her name)
  • Choose a confusing name that includes numerals or punctuation (although some courts have permitted people to spell out the numbers, for example, “Seven” instead of “7”)
  • Choose a name that would intimidate, offend, be considered obscene, or is a racial slur

In New Jersey, the first step in legally requesting a name change is filing two important sets of documents: 1. The New Jersey Name Change Packet and 2. The Civil Case Information Statement. While not strictly required, it is recommended to make copies of these documents to keep for your own personal records. Once completed, you would then file the forms by submitting them either in-person or via mail to the Superior Court of the county in which you reside. You are required to also submit with these completed documents, a check or money order for $250 made out to “Treasurer, State of New Jersey,” as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for the court to return the forms to you. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may apply to the court to be allowed to file without the fee.

Once you receive back from the court the Order Fixing Date of Hearing with a designated hearing date, you are required to publish notice of the hearing date in a newspaper so that anyone who may object to the name change has an opportunity to challenge it. You should immediately send a copy of the order to the newspaper outlined in the order. The newspaper selected must publish the notice of the hearing date at least once within the two weeks before the date of the hearing. After the newspaper publishes notice of the hearing date, you will receive a copy of an Affidavit of Publication, a sworn statement made by the newspaper stating that the newspaper has published the information in the court order.

On the date of the hearing, you will present the required paperwork to the judge who will then review it taking into account any objections to your name change request. If there are objections, you may be asked some questions by the judge who will rule whether or not the name change will be allowed. Following the hearing, a  final judgement will be sent in the mail which will also need to be published in the newspaper within 20 days. Once again, the newspaper will send an affidavit of publication, which must be sent to the court.

While it is not required that you enlist the help of an attorney in requesting a name change in New Jersey, there are absolutely benefits to doing so. The process of legally changing your name entails a good deal of paperwork, specific details of which are easy to overlook for someone who is not familiar with these documents. By hiring an attorney, you can minimize the amount of work involved on your part and ensure all of the proper steps are taken in a timely and professional manner.

Name Change with Sylvia

The process of legally changing your name doesn’t have to be tedious or confusing. Let us help you to simplify this process and ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently from beginning to end.