Rhode Island Name Change
Changing your name in Rhode Island is a relatively simple procedure. Only one form is required, which you must complete and file with the proper court at which time you will be required to pay a fee.
The process of changing the name is rather unsophisticated in Rhode Island. The law of the smallest US state provides that any adult person may change his or her name. The judge will grant or deny the petition without consideration of presence or absence of spousal consent. For the purposes of name change laws, any person who reached 18 years of age is considered an adult.
When deciding on whether to grant or deny the petition for name change the court must find that the requested name change is consistent with the public interest. A person is not allowed to change their name in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations. A person cannot change their name to defraud any other person.
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. A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.
What forms are required for a Rhode Island name change?
The only form which has to be filled out is the Change of Name Form (Form PC-8.1).
This form can be found on the Rhode Island Secretary of State website.
Where to file the forms for a name change in Rhode Island?
The completed form must be filed with the probate court clerk of the county where you currently live.
Do I need to notarize the forms?
Yes. Ask the clerk if he or she may perform the function of a notary public. If not, check with your bank. Banks often offer notary services for free for their account holders.
Is there a filing fee in Rhode Island for a name change?
Yes. Check with the court clerk to determine the amount. You may have the fee waived if you can show financial hardship.
Do I need to schedule a court hearing?
Yes. The court clerk will tell you the date of your court hearing.
Do I need to publish something in a local newspaper?
No. You may publish notice of your name change in a local newspaper. Contrary to many other states Rhode Island does not statutorily require you to publish the notice of a name change; however the publication may be ordered by the Court depending on the circumstances. Ask the clerk for more information on when and where to publish your notice.