Virginia Name Change Requirements

General Summary of Name Change Laws in Virginia

The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.

You cannot change your name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).

IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions which involve a minor, courts typically seek written consent from every adult who retains legal rights over the minor. As such, the applicant must directly notify each of these parties (Service of Process).

Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY. Our products/services should not be used if you have been convicted of a felony, have claimed bankruptcy and/or have judgments/liens against you. Instead, you should consider contacting an attorney in your area. These circumstances could cause complications, which may result in your action being denied and/or contested.

Summary of Name Change Law and Procedures in Virginia for an Adult

In Virginia, an adult may change his/her name by filing an action in the Circuit Court with appropriate forms. The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in Virginia begins with the filing of a Petition with the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction in which the Petitioner resides. The Petitioner (the person who initiates the suit/application) must have lived within the Commonwealth of Virginia and the County/City in which they will be filing their application in for at least six (6) months.

The Petition includes personal information as required by statute, such as the Petitioner's name, the Petitioner's place of residence, the Petitioner's date and place of birth, etc. The Petition must be acknowledged under oath. After filing the Petition and other appropriate forms and paying the required filing fee for such, if everything is in order (the statutory requirements have been satisfied) and the Court agrees to the intent and nature of the Petition, the Court will sign an Order making the name change official. 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.

In Virginia, most name changes are granted without a hearing. However, you should be aware that formal court hearings are sometimes required, almost always if there is an objection. The determining factor in whether or not a hearing will be required will be from the contents of the papers submitted to the Court Clerk. Only if your background or Petition is outrageous, seemingly fraudulent or illegal or, as mentioned above, if there are objections to your Petition, will the Clerk likely require a hearing. Otherwise, the Clerk may transfer the Petition to the Judge for approval.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for an Adult in Virginia

Certain requirements exist which must be met before you can file for a name change and/or during the name change process in Virginia. These requirements include:

  • You must have lived within the Commonwealth of Virginia and the County/City in which you will be filing your application in for at least six (6) months.
  • You must file in the Circuit Court in your County or City of residence.
  • You must be an adult. Following is the age of majority, as taken directly from Title 1 General Provisions, Chapter 2 Common Law, Statutes and Rules of Construction, ' 1-13.42 ' Age of majority, of the Virginia Code, '(4) (b) For the purposes of all laws of the Commonwealth including common law, case law and statutory law, unless an exception is specifically provided in this Code, a person shall be an adult, shall be of full age and shall reach the age of majority when he becomes eighteen years of age.'
  • You must have proper and reasonable cause for the requested change of name.
  • You are not changing your name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors or anyone else.

Overview of the Procedures in Virginia for a Minor

Our Virginia Name Change for a Minor is only for use when both of the minor's biological parents consent to the application for change of name and will petition the court jointly. Exceptions include a deceased biological parent or a biological parent who has terminated their parental rights via court order. In such situations, typically one would attach proof of the situation (a death certificate or court order) to the application for change of name.

  1. Prepare the Petition and Order documents, but do not sign any of the papers.
  2. Take the Petition to a Notary.
  3. Have the Notary witness your signatures on the document (described in detail within our materials).
  4. Take the following documents to file in your local Circuit court:
    • Self-Addressed stamped envelope;
    • Copies of the Certified Petition (based on Clerk's recommendations);
    • The original Petition for Change (after having Notary Certify the document);
    • The Order;
    • A filing fee of $32 (subject to change) will be required by the clerk. Personal checks or money orders should be made out according to the Clerk's recommendations.
  5. If no hearing is required, the court will mail a copy of the signed Order to the Petitioner within 3-6 weeks.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for a Minor in Virginia

Certain requirements exist which must be met during the name change process in Virginia. These requirements include: You (the Plaintiff) are the minor child's biological parent.

  • You must have lived within the State of Virginia and the County/City in which you will be filing your application in for at least six (6) months.
  • You must file in the Circuit Court in your county or city of residence.
  • For name changes involving minors, the Petitioner must qualify as an adult and the minor must qualify as a minor. Following is the age of majority, as taken directly from Title 1 General Provisions, Chapter 2 Common Law, Statutes and Rules of Construction, ' 1-13.42 ' Age of majority, of the Virginia Code, '(4) (b) For the purposes of all laws of the Commonwealth including common law, case law and statutory law, unless an exception is specifically provided in this Code, a person shall be an adult, shall be of full age and shall reach the age of majority when he becomes eighteen years of age.'
  • During a proposed name change for a minor, the petition must be brought by both of the minor's parents, or by one parent with the Notarized consent of the other. All adults who retain legal rights over the child must be given proper notice of the proposed action. Courts typically conduct hearings to determine whether the change of name is in the best interest of the minor and hear any objections which may be raised by interested parties. If you anticipate objections, our product should not be used. In such cases, consult a licensed attorney in your area.

Name Change Forms

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