Changing a Child's Name
Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney. Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
- How do I file for a child's name change?
- Do I have to tell the other parent about the name change?
- How do I let the other parent know about the name change?
- What happens if the parents don’t agree?
- What happens if the child doesn’t agree to the name change?
- Will the Court agree to the child's name change?
- What do I do after I have the order for my child's name change?
If you need to make a name correction on a birth certificate, please contact the Vital Statistics Office, (307) 777-7591. Some corrections may require a court order.
You can ask to change the child's name as part of an adoption or paternity case. If you are involved in an adoption or paternity case, the Court may be able to change the child’s name as part of that case.
If you are not involved in an adoption or paternity case, you will likely need to follow the procedures as described in the instruction packet below:
Your child must have lived in the county where you file for at least two (2) years before you can request a name change (unless it is during an adoption or paternity case). This means that if your child is less than two (2) years old, you will not be able to ask for a name change.
Note: Changing a child’s last name to that of a current spouse does not mean the current spouse is the child’s legal parent. The only way to do this is to do an adoption.
Important! The Court will make a decision based on what is best for the child. The Judge may consider additional factors such as the child’s age, whether the other parent consents, and the relationship with the other parent.
Both parents have the right to know about a request to change their child’s name. If both parents agree to the name change, the Judge is more likely to determine that the name change is in the best interests of your child.
If you are applying for a name change because your safety is in danger, it is highly recommended that you talk to a lawyer or a domestic violence counselor. Click here for more information about domestic violence. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
According to a new Wyoming law, if you or your child are victim of domestic violence and your safety is in danger you can request to have your residence information in your name change file kept confidential and you will not have to publish a notice in a newspaper. To keep your information confidential, you will have to file a separate motion with your petition, and you may need to prove to the court why you are a victim of domestic violence and your safety is in danger.
If possible, you should notify the other parent in advance because the Judge needs to know whether the other parent agrees. If the other parent agrees, it would be best to get their written consent. In Wyoming, you must also publish notification in a local newspaper (above). Some judges may require that you schedule a hearing and notify the other parent of the hearing. See the link above for the forms to request a hearing.
The Court may consider the wishes of any non-filing parent in considering whether to grant the name change. If you know the other parent does not agree or the other parent files an objection, you will need to schedule a hearing to prove that the name change is in the child’s best interest. If this happens, you should seek the advice of a lawyer. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
The Court may consider the wishes of a child old enough to express their wishes in considering whether to grant the name change. Ultimately, the Judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
The Court usually agrees if the name change is best for the child.
- Get new identification cards. After you change your child's name, it is important that you get new identification documents and notify some agencies and organizations about your child's new name. Each organization will have its own process for updating records. The first thing you may want to do is get a Social Security card and driver's license or I.D. with your child's name so you can show them to the organizations along with the court order granting your name change.
- Notify agencies and organizations.
- Insurance companies
- Doctor, dentist, pharmacist
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Utility companies (telephone, cable, gas, electric, etc.)
- State and federal tax authorities
- Social service or benefit programs
- Update important papers. You should also think about important papers that have your child's name on them, like titles to motor vehicles or real estate, a will, health care directive, power of attorney, etc. You may want to update those documents with your new name to avoid any confusion in the future.