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Adult Name Change Process in Missouri: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Legal Standard for Changing a Legal Name Change Under Missouri Law?

Under Missouri law, any adult (i.e., someone over 18 years of age) is permitted to change their first or last name as long as they are not harming another person's interest. Typically, Missouri courts adopt a liberal approach to name change applications. As long as you are not changing your name to avoid payment of a debt or to avoid some other legal obligation, judges must typically allow you to legally change your name. The Missouri Court of Appeals has specifically ruled that except where there exists competent evidence that a proposed name change will cause harm to another person, it is error for a trial court judge in Missouri to deny a name change petition.

Where Do I File a Name Change Petition?

Your verified name change petition should be filed with the circuit court of the county where you reside. This will also be the place where your name change hearing will be held.

What Documents and Information Do I Need?

You will need to file a name change petition. The petition must be verified. This means that you must sign the form under oath in the presence of a notary public. On the form, you will insert the precise reason why you are seeking to change your name. You also need to fill out basic personal information, including your date and place of birth; parents' names; and, if applicable, the names of your spouse and children. The requirements for Missouri name change petitions are set forth in Missouri Supreme Court Rule 95.01.

Is there a Notice/Publishing Requirement under Missouri Name Change Law?

Yes. After the judge signs your name change order, you will need to publish a legal notice of your name change in a newspaper in the county where you reside. The notice will include your prior name; new name; name of the court that granted your order; and the date of the order. The notice will be published 3 times within a 20-day period. Both the court and most local newspapers will be able to guide you through the publishing process. After the notice is published, proof of publishing must be filed with the Clerk of the Court. The forms kits that are available for download on's forms page contain the instructions and papers that you need to satisfy the publishing requirements.

After My Name is Changed, is My Birth Certificate Changed?

Yes. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Statistics will amend your birth certificate to reflect your new legal name. You will need to provide a certified copy of the name change order signed by the judge.