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Basics on Name Changes
Visit the Self-Help Center to learn more about name changes.
- You must file in the county where you live.
- You must have lived within the State of Minnesota at least six months.
- At the hearing you must bring two adult witnesses who have known you for not less than one year. Your witnesses may be relatives. If you are married, one of your witnesses should be your spouse. The witnesses should be able to speak and understand English. If not, you will need to provide an interpreter for your witness at your own expense.
If you own your home or other real estate, you need to have the legal description when you file your documents (it will not be your address). This information is available on your Property Tax Statement.
- You must file in the County where you live.
- You must have lived within the State of Minnesota for at least six months.
- The child must be present at the hearing.
- Only one parent is required to be at the hearing.
- You must bring two adult witnesses who have known you for at least one year or longer (in addition to the one parent). The witnesses should be able to speak and understand English. If not, you will need to provide an interpreter for your witness at your own expense.
- If both parents come to the hearing you only need to bring one witness.
- If the parents do not live together, the parent seeking the name change must send a certified letter to the absent parent indicating the date, time and place of the hearing. (If the current address of the absent parent is not known, you must mail a certified letter to the last known address of the absent parent.) Bring proof of mailing with you to court.
- If the absent parent’s past or present address is unknown to you: You must send a regular letter to a relative of the absent parent informing them to notify the absent parent of the date, time and place of the hearing. Bring proof of mailing the certified letter and a copy of the letter to the hearing.
- If the certified letter is returned to you as undelivered you must bring the unopened letter to your court hearing.
- You must set your court hearing at least 30 days from the day you will mail the certificate letter. This allows enough time for your certified letter to be returned to you if it is undeliverable.
If the biological father is not listed on the birth certificate and is not named by court order, you may not have to notify him. Bring a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate to your court appearance.
You can dowload the packet of Name Change Forms & Instructions from this website.
Type or print neatly on the forms in black ink. Take your forms to the Civil Intake counter on the Public Service Level (2nd floor) of the Hennepin Co. Govt. Center. The Civil Intake Department cannot fill out your forms for you, but they can show you an example of how to fill out the forms.
Do not sign the application until you are at the courthouse. Your signature must be witnessed and notarized by a court clerk.
If you own land, even the house you live in, you must get the "legal description" of the property. The "legal description" is not the mailing address of the property. The description is on the deed, and it is available at the Property Recorder's Office in the county where the property is located.
Bring your court forms to the Civil Intake counter on the Public Service Level (2nd floor) of the Hennepin Co. Govt. Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Your case will be assigned to a judge, and the court will mail you a "Notice of Judicial Assignment" approximately one week after you file your case. You can then contact the judge's clerk for further instructions about scheduling a hearing. (Phone Directory of Judges)
When you choose a date make sure it is convenient for your witnesses.
To open a case, you must pay a filing fee. If you are low income and cannot afford the fee, you can ask the court for a fee waiver. The fee is due at the time of filing, and you can pay by cash or check made out to District Court Administrator. There is also a fee for copies of the final order signed by the judge.
Come at the assigned time with your two adult witnesses and go straight to the courtroom.
If the name change is for a minor or includes a minor, the minor must be present. Three adults must be present (yourself and your two witnesses) and all minors who might be changing their names.
If you are in a situation where you had to notify the non-applicant parent by certified mail, be sure you have the proof of mailing with you.
If your name change is granted, it is your responsibility to notify all interested people, businesses, employers, schools, etc., of your new name. Some will require a certified copy of the Order Granting Name Change. An list will be given to you in court as to whom you may need to notify.
You must file a certified copy of the order with the county recorder of any county in which you, your spouse, or minor children have an interest in land.
- The following is a list of additional items to consider changing:
- Your driver’s license or Minnesota ID card must be changed within 30 days. For more information, see MN Department of Public Safety.
- Your Social Security registration. (Telephone Contact Number is 1-800-772-1213)
- Your voter’s registration.
- State and federal authorities.
- Insurance companies and pension/retirement companies or human resources department at work.
- Social service or other entitlement programs.
- Car titles (and again the insurance company)
- Notify your bank and other institutions where you have loans, checking accounts, and savings, and cash cards.
- Amend your will if you have one. See your attorney about this and other legal items.
- Credit card accounts and other charge accounts should be changed.
- Passports (obtain information from your local license center)
- School (including college and university) records
- If you are of draft age, the registration office should be informed of your new name.
- Notify military benefits offices, including the Veterans Administration, if you have such rights.
- Your doctors’ offices, dentist, pharmacy, and hospital may need to amend their records so your future insurance claims can be properly processed with your insurance carriers.
- Inform the U.S. Postal Service and publishers of periodicals and publications.
- Your Tribe of registration if you are an enrolled Native American.
- Student loan servicing institution.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2901 Metro Drive, Bloomington, MN 55425.
- Legal authorities, if there are records of any felonies.
It is your responsiblity to change your name on your other records.
The certified copy (see fees) will have a raised Court seal on it. You may make several copies of it. Some of the agencies you will need to notify may want to see your official certified copy but will only keep a copy.
Certified Copies are not automatically made. They must be requested and paid for before they will be given or sent.
A request may be made at the time you file your application and the certified copy fee may be paid at that time. Your certified copy will be mailed out two to three weeks after your hearing.
Request for certified/uncertified copies can also be made after the hearing either in person or by mail. See Records Center.
You may make additional photocopies of the certified copy as needed. A certified copy of the Order is required to change your driver’s license, social security records, birth certificate, etc. Birth certificates are changed at the MN Dept. of Health, Office of Vital Statistics.
- You do not have to be a citizen of the United States to have your name changed, but you must contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (612)854-7754 to determine any special requirements the Department may have.
- To change the name of a child born out-of-wedlock when the biological parents get married, a change of name hearing in court is not needed. Contact the MN Dept. of Health at (612)676-5120. Ask what the cost is to file to have the child’s name changed and the cost of the certified copy of the corrected birth certificate.
See MN Statutes § 259.13.
You must serve a notice of your name change application on the prosecuting authority responsible for your felony before filing your application with the court. If your felony is from another state or a federal charge, you must serve the MN Attorney General. If you have more than one felony, all prosecuting authorities and/or the Attorney General must be served. Proof(s) of service must accompany your Application for Name Change when you filed with the court.
If the prosecuting authority or Attorney General files an objection to your name change, and you wish to proceed with your Application for Name Change, you must contest the objection of the prosecuting authority or Attorney General. To do this, you must file a motion with the court for an order permitting the requested name change and contact the judge assigned to your case for a hearing date. You will need to serve the prosecuting authority notice of the hearing date and a copy of your motion. You will need to prove to the Court by clear and convincing evidence that your application for name change is not based on the intent to defraud, is made in good faith, will not cause injury to a person and will not compromise public safety. Absent this evidence, your name change will not be granted.
See also MN Statutes Chapter 259 - Change of Name for additional requirements pertaining to ALL name change applications.
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