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July 24, 2008

Procedures To Change The Name Of A Child In Missouri

The procedure for changing a minor’s name is simple and quick, provided that both of the natural parents agree to the proposed name change. The procedures to change the name of a child in Missouri include the following:
  • Because children under 18 cannot file court actions, the name-change petition must be filed by an adult – usually a parent or guardian – on the child’s behalf.

  • Unless both parents consent to the name change, the parent seeking the child’s name change must formally provide notice to the other parent of the proposed change at least 30 days before the name-change hearing.

  • If the non-petitioning parent has consented or does not object to the change, the name-change hearing is often brief. However, if the non-petitioning parent contests the change, the hearing could be more lengthy and the results uncertain. The controlling standard is the best interests of the child. Factors that are considered by the Court include:

    • The child’s age

    • The potential embarrassment or discomfort the child might experience if his or her surname is different from the custodial parent’s surname

    • How the name change would affect the child’s relationship with both parents