Georgia Legal Name Change Attorneys – Minor Children
Coleman Legal Group, LLC | Phone: 770-609-1247
In Georgia, legal name changes can be for either an adult or a minor child. People frequently ask our attorneys what is an allowable reason to change your name in Georgia. Georgia law allows name changes so long as a name change is not being used to commit fraud or hide from creditors. There are rare instances where name changes have not been granted due to obscene words being chosen for the name, but these instances are not common in Georgia courts. This page primarily discusses minor child name changes. Go here to read about name changes for adults >
Minor Child(ren) Name Changes
Changing the name of a minor child is very similar to changing the name of an adult. Publication for four (4) consecutive weeks in a legal newspaper is still required. However, if both parents are still alive, both parent’s will need to file the petition jointly, or one parent will need to have the other parent officially served with the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child.
Changing the name of a minor child is very similar to changing the name of an adult. Publication for four (4) consecutive weeks in a legal newspaper is still required. However, if both parents are still alive, both parent’s will need to file the petition jointly, or one parent will need to have the other parent officially served with and/or consent to the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child. There are exceptions to the other (or both) parents needing to be served; if the child was born to unwed parents and the father is not legitimized, then notice of the requested name change is not required if the other parent cannot be found for service (usually the father).
If a child was born during a marriage, or the biological father is legitimized, the father’s written and signed consent will usually be required for a name change for a minor child to be approved by the court. If both parents are married, then they can file a joint petition for their child’s name to be changed, or either parent can file the petition and the other parent will just need to sign a notarized consent to the name change.
Although not common, the name change of a minor child can be requested by a person other than the parents, such as a grandparent, step parent or foster parent. If this is done, both parents will need to be served with the petition. Usually, only the consent of both parents is required for a name change of a minor child; however under Georgia law there are clearly outlined exceptions as stated below:
If the petition seeks to change the name of a minor child, the written consent of his parent or parents if they are living and have not abandoned the child, or the written consent of the child’s guardian if both parents are dead or have abandoned the child, shall be filed with the petition, except that the written consent of a parent shall not be required if the parent has not contributed to the support of the child for a continuous period of five years or more immediately preceding the filing of the petition. See O.C.G.A. § 19-12-1 >>
If the parents of the minor child were not married when the child was born, and the biological father is not legitimated, the court may still require service on the biological father. However, even in the event the biological father actually filed an objection to the requested name change with the court, if will still likely not prevent the name change from being granted. This is true even if the biological father is on the minor child’s birth certificate.
The reasons given for the name change of a minor child usually include:
- The adoption of the child.
- The name the child was given at birth does not mean anything to them because they do not have a relationship with their family.
- The parents or guardian do not like their name for personal reasons, such as they do not have a good relationship with their parents or other family members associated with the name.
- The parents or guardian feel the child’s name will impeding their ability to find employment because it is too difficult to spell, pronounce or may be associated with a historical or public figure that is unpopular.
- They have been using a different name than what is on their birth certificate for years, and now upon requesting the child’s driver’s license a name change is required to get all their documents, such as social security card, pass port, driver’s license and birth certificate to state the same exact name.
- They only want a minor changes to their name, such as the taking out of a space or hyphen to prevent errors when completing important documents.
- The child wishes to take the name of their step parent or other person that has helped raise them.
- The child needs to be registered in the child’s (or child’s parent’s) home county, but the child’s name does not meet the home country’s requirements for a child’s name.
- There have been mistakes over time that now make a name change preferable or necessary. Examples of mistakes include:
- The wrong spelling for a name was put on a birth certificate and not corrected early in the process
- The wrong spelling for a name was put on official documents as a part of the immigration process
- The wrong name was give as an official name (usually by parents, guardian or a caretaker) for all important documents early in life, making it very difficult to go back to using the name of the birth certificate.
- The parents agree with the child that a name change is needed due to the child not being happy with their current name for various reasons.
All of the reason above are legitimate and acceptable reason in Georgia for a name change of a minor child. See O.C.G.A. § 19-12-1 >>
What to Do Once the Name Change is Granted By the Court
Once our family law attorneys have petitioned the court for a change of your name and received the court order granting it, your name is officially changed. However, obtaining a court order changing your name is just one of the steps in the process. After your name has been changed with the court and you have a copy of the court order you should do the following as soon as possible:
Update your child’s Social Security Card
You will need to locate a social security office near you bring and a copy of the court order granting your child’s name change. There should be no fee to obtain a new social security card with your new name on it. To obtain a new social security card showing your new name, you will need to submit the following documents to a Social Security Administration office:
- A completed Application for a Social Security Card
- Proof of your name change; a copy of the court’s order granting the name change should suffice
- Proof of identity, such as your driver’s license or passport
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or citizenship certificate
Review the required list of accepted documents to find out what forms can be used. A new social security card bearing your new name will be mailed to you after your application has been processed. It is important to note that the requirement and forms to update a Social Security card can change at anytime, so it is important to review the requirements with the Social Security Administration office carefully.
Update the child’s School
Updating your child’s name with the school is not usually very difficult. However, there will likely be some forms to fill out and you will need to provide a copy of the court’s order changing your child’s name. Check with the school’s administrative office in advance to get a full list of what documentation they may require.
Update the child’s Passport
If your child obtained a passport within the last year, you should be able to update the passport information for free. However, you should refer to the U.S. Department of State website (http://travel.state.gov/) to find out which form(s) you will need to complete to update the passport with your child’s new name.
Update the child’s Georgia Driver’s License
If your child has a driver’s license, you and your child should visit the Department of Driver Services and obtain a new driver’s license showing the new name. You will need to present a copy of the court order granting the name change. If you are also changing your address, you will also need to provide proof of new residence (such as a utility bill). Your child should be prepared to have their photograph taken again for your new driver’s license. Depending on when the license was granted, you may have to pay a fee. It is best to have cash available to pay this fee in case your check or debit / credit card is not accepted. As of 2013, there have been many new changes to the law governing the obtaining and renewing Georgia Driver’s Licenses. Therefore, we recommend check with the Department of Driver Services (http://www.dds.ga.gov/) regarding fees and other forms of identification that may be required. However, you will usually need to update your Social Security Card before you can update your Georgia driver’s license.
Other Services: Credit Cards, Bank Accounts, Etc.
After you have changed the name on all other relevant legal documents and forms of identification (ID), you should contact any relevant banks, subscriptions and service providers to update them with your child’s new name. Many of them will be able to make the name change and update their records over the phone. However, some banks and service providers may require that you appear at a local branch or office and provide copies of the new ID(s) and a copy of the court order granting the name change.
Call 770-609-1247 or use the Email Submission Form Below. Weekend and Evening Appointments and Consultations Available.
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Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Real Estate, Estates, Wills, Trusts, Sports and Entertainment Law, Immigration, and Business Law.
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