How to Obtain a Name Change in Connecticut
1. Can I have my name changed in Connecticut?
Unlike some states, Connecticut and its Supreme Court endorse name change liberally. Therefore, as long as you are an adult and resident of Connecticut, you may change your name, provided it is not for fraud or another illicit activity (such as escaping debt liability). Name change for minors is almost as simple.
2. When can I have my name changed in Connecticut?
Connecticut law does not limit or specify when or how often an adult may have his/her name changed.
You may want to check with the Court where you plan to file your case for specific days or times when name change hearings are scheduled. You may have your hearing on the same day that you file your case or a future hearing will be set.
3. Where do I go to petition to have my name changed in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, both Probate and the Superior Court have jurisdiction to grant name change petitions.
4. How do I petition to have my name changed in Connecticut?
Step 1: The Petition
Adults complete an Application for Change of Name (Adult Form PC-901)
Minors complete Application for Change of Name (Minor Form PC-900)
Step 2: Submitting Your Complete Forms
Submit the completed forms to the local Probate Court, which has authority to grant name changes. These forms are available at your local Probate Court, or they can be found at the State’s Judicial Branch webpage here. Additionally, you may locate your applicable Probate Court from the list available here.
Note, in Connecticut, the Superior Court also has jurisdiction to hear change of name petitions, but it is usually much simpler to use the local Probate Court.
Step 3: Other Logistics
If you are considering a change of name for your child, such petitions may also be submitted during an adoption hearing.
Women who desire to take their husband’s names after marriage may simply designate the change on the marriage license and may avoid going through the courts.
Women who want their maiden name or previous married name restored after divorce must ask for a name change from the same court that issued the divorce decree. Thorough explanation is available at here. Basically, after a divorce is granted, you may ask the court to restore your birth name or a prior married name. To do this:
- Get a copy of your divorce judgment if you do not already have it. This may be obtained from the clerk of court where you received the divorce.
- Fill out an Appearance (JD-CL-12) form and file it at the court clerk’s office. Available here. This form tells the court that you are representing yourself. File it with the court so they will know how to contact you.
- Fill out the Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174), available here. To fill out this form, you will need the docket number of your divorce, the judicial district where it was obtained, whether you were plaintiff or defendant, and the date it was granted. All are available on your divorce decree either in the upper left corner or right of the heading. Do not fill out the “order” section on the back of this form! That is for the Court. Make copies of the completed Modification form, giving two copies to the clerk of court and keeping one for yourself. Some courts will require a copy to be served on your ex-husband. If this applies to you, a Marshall will serve your ex-husband; give you a Return of Service, which you must give to the clerk. Next, you will receive notice of your case. Read the instructions on the top left corner of this document to mark your case as ready.
Note, additional steps are required for women changing their name due to marriage or divorce besides the court filings.
- In order to change your name for tax purposes, you must contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA will issue a new social security card reflecting your new name, and will automatically notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your new name. The national toll-free number for the SSA is (800) 772-1213.
- In order to change your name on your Connecticut driver’s license, you will need to go to your nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) full service branch office to update the information on both your driver’s license and your vehicle registration, if necessary. The forms and affidavits regarding this step are available here.
- Additionally, a certified copy of a marriage license or divorce decree to other organizations, such as banks, utility companies, etc . . . may be necessary. Such entities can sometimes be reluctant to acquiesce to your request for a new name because of identity theft liability and providing such documentation can ease the process.
Step 4: Be prepared for your hearing
You may be asked questions probing why you wish to change your name.
Step 5: Obtain the signed copy of the Decree for Name Change from the Court
Submit proof of publication to the Court, this can include copies of the newspaper notice.
If publication is not required, you will receive your Decree once ordered by the Court.
If you need certified copies, a $20 cert. fee applies per certified copy.
5. Are there any restrictions?
You cannot obtain a name change in Connecticut in furtherance of a wrongful or outright illegal purpose, i.e. for the purpose of avoiding civil or criminal liability, having to pay a debt or judgment, or service of process, and your petition to the Court will ask you to affirm that you are only seeking a change of name for the reason given on the affidavit.
Additionally, regarding minor’s change of name, the application will ask you to affirm, to the best of your knowledge, that no proceeding, pending or contemplated, will affect the custody of said minor child. If such a proceeding is pending or contemplated, you will need to fill out an “Affidavit Concerning Children” (JD-FM-164). Form available here.
Finally, any person who is required to register with the Commissioner of Public Safety as a sexual offender who files an application with the Superior Court for a change of name shall (A) prior to filing such application, notify the Commissioner of Public Safety, on such form as the commissioner may prescribe, that the person intends to file an application for a change of name, indicating the change of name sought, and (B) include with such application a sworn statement that such change of name is not being sought for the purpose of avoiding the legal consequences of a criminal conviction, including, but not limited to, a criminal conviction that requires such person to register as a sexual offender. This given the Commissioner opportunity to contest the application, and non-compliance with this provision will result in denial of your petition.
6. How much will my name change cost?
Please note, most fees are waivable by the Court if you cannot afford them. The application for fee waiver is available here. You should fill it out and make 3 copies (one for yourself, the clerk of court, and the other party). An example of this form is also available at the link previously supplied. A judge will look at this form and make a decision as to whether you will have to pay. If the judge denies this request, you may ask for a hearing, but each Court does things differently. Suffice to say, do not worry about this until your request is denied, then ask the clerk in your courthouse for assistance appealing the judge’s decision. Waivers are traditionally granted to recipients of government assistance (such as welfare) or for petitioners with very low after-tax income. If the clerk seems unhelpful, try calling Statewide Legal Services (1-800-453-3320).
Modification Fee: $125 (JD-FM-174)
Marshall Fee: $40-60, if you have the modification served (given to your ex-husband).