Information and Procedures for Georgia Adult and Minor Name Change
This blog post describes the procedures and forms required for a Georgia Adult or Minor Change.
Georgia Minor Name Change
In Georgia, the process for obtaining a name change for a minor begins with the filing of a Petition to Change Name of a Minor which sets forth the reasons for the change, by the parent or guardian of the minor, with the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which the minor resides. The Petitioner must attach to the Petition a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. The Court requires that a notice be published to announce the Petition to the public shortly after the Petition is originally filed.
A hearing date will be set, within thirty to sixty days, where the Petition will be fully examined and any objections to the Petition will be heard.
During the interim, any adult who has a legal right to notification of the Petition (such as a parent, legal guardian, etc.) shall be given proper direct notice by the Petitioner. This is referred to as Service of Process. After these requirements have been met, the Petitioner and minor shall appear before the court at the Hearing to offer proof of these efforts.
The Court will hear any objections to the Petition offered by third parties and review the Petition. If everything is in order and the Court agrees to the intent and nature of the Petition, the Court will sign an Order making the name change official. 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.
Georgia Adult Name Change Instructions
A Georgia Adult Name Change is not that complicated and can be done without the assistance of an attorney. Any adult who wants to change their name in Georgia must first file a petition with the Superior Court of the county of his or her residence setting forth the reasons for the change. Within seven days of the petition being filed, the petitioner shall publish a notice of the name change, signed by the petitioner, in the official legal newspaper for the county where (s)he resides. The publication of the name change must be published once a week for four weeks. After thirty days from the filing of the petition, and after proof to the court of publication of the notice required is made, if no objection is filed, the court shall proceed at chambers at such date as the court shall fix to hear and determine all matters raised by the petition and to render final judgment or decree thereon.
You can refer to Georgia’s Name Change statutes at our Georgia Name Change Law Center web page.
Requirements to Georgia Adult Name Change
The only way someone can obtain a Name Change in the State of Georgia is if the change of name is being requested by someone who has been a resident of the State of Georgia for a minimum of six (6) months, and if the change is not for the purpose of fraud.
You must be a resident of Georgia in order for a Georgia Court to have jurisdiction to hear your case. You will file this action in the county where you reside. You MUST have been a resident of Georgia for a MINIMUM of SIX MONTHS. If you are a resident of a Military Base in the State of Georgia, then you must be a resident of the State of Georgia for a minimum of one year.
STEP ONE – FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK & CERTIFICATION
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Fill out the Petition to Change Name (of an Adult), the Verification form to go with the Petition and the Notice of Petition to Change Name form. Note: You should not fill in the blank next to “Civil Action File No:” because the clerk will assign your case a number when you file the Petition. Also, please note that the date that you are signing this document may be the same date that you file it. Make a copy of each of the forms. You will keep the copies for your records and bring them to court with you when you come to get your final decree.
In order for your Change of Name to be processed correctly, certain documents must be Certified by a Notary Public. This means that you must take the Verification form to a Notary Public, take an oath administered by the Notary Public (an oath is where you swear that the documents are true and correct), and get the Notary Public’s official seal on your documents.
Most banks have a Notary Public on staff that will be able to help you. The fee is usually not more than a few dollars or less per document.
Important Note! Make sure to have your documents Certified. Failure to do so is the most common reason for being denied a Change of Name.
STEP TWO – FILING THE PAPERWORK WITH THE COURT
To begin the process, the Petition, the Verification, and the Notice of Petition to Change Name forms must be filed in the clerk’s office in the county of the Petitioner’s residence. These forms should be hand delivered to the Clerk of the Court in the county or city where you reside. To find the address of the clerk’s office in your County courthouse go to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority web site at: http://www.gsccca.org or you can look in the government (blue) pages of your telephone book. If you need directions to the courthouse or the hours that the courthouse is open, call the Clerk at the number listed in the web site or provided in the phone book.
DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN FIRST FILING
The first filing will include:
- The Petition to Change Name
- The Verification; and
- The Notice of Petition to Change Name
Some courts will also require that you file a Civil Case Initiation Form and a Civil Case Disposition Form. These forms are included below if you need them.
For the Civil Case Initiation Form leave the space below the word “Defendant(s)” blank, since there is no Defendant in this type of action. Also, below your name and address section, the form asks for information about your attorney. Since you are not going to be represented by an attorney, simply write “None, Pro Se” in that section. (Leave the space for attorney information under the “Defendant” blank). Lastly, put a check mark in the left hand column on the space next to “Other Cause of Action”, and on the line below simply write “Name Change”.
All that should be needed for the Civil Case Disposition Form is that you enter the name of the county in the space provided (in the upper left hand side). Again, since you are not going to be represented by an attorney, simply write “None, Pro Se” in the attorney information section.
The clerk will require a filing fee. The filing fee is approximately $65.00. You should call the Clerk of the Court to find out the amount and what methods of payment will be accepted.
STEP THREE – PUBLICATION OF NOTICE
Within typically seven (7) days of filing the Petition to Change Name with the Superior Court, you must have the Notice of Petition to Change Name (signed by you) published in the official legal newspaper of your county.
When you file the Petition to Change Name, ask the Clerk of the Court which newspaper is the official legal newspaper of your county. The Notice of Petition to Change Name must be published once a week for four weeks. The charge for publication varies from county to county and is dependent upon the newspaper in which you will publish your notice. For specific information regarding costs and methods of payment, you should contact the newspaper in which the notice will be published.
When you take the Notice of Petition to Change Name to the newspaper to be published, bring with you the Publisher’s Affidavit. The newspaper will need to complete this form, have it notarized, and send it to the Clerk’s office after you meet the publication requirements. Some newspapers will return the affidavit to you, stating the dates the notice ran, as opposed to sending it to the court. If the completed affidavit is given to you as opposed to being sent to the courthouse, take the form to the clerk’s office.
Important Note: Check the newspaper to make sure that your notice is being published.
STEP FOUR – OBTAINING YOUR FINAL DECREE
Thirty (30) days after the petition is filed and the notice has been published once a week for four weeks, you can ask the court to enter a Decree of Name Change. The court shall proceed at chambers on such date as the court shall hear and determine all matters raised by the petition and to render final judgment or decree thereon. While you are waiting for the thirty (30) day period to expire, be certain to complete the Final Decree Changing the Name of an Adult form.
When you get to court, find out the name of the presiding judge and go to that judge’s chambers. You must bring with you the following documents:
- Your original petition and a copy of all the other forms;
- Proof that the notice was published; and
- The Final Decree Changing the Name of an Adult form for the judge to sign.
Tell the judge’s secretary/assistant that you are there for a name change action. When you go into the judge’s chambers, the judge will have you swear to the truth of what you will say. The judge may then make a few opening remarks pertaining to your case or the paperwork in your file and will ask you to present your case. Begin by stating your name and that you are the petitioner. Next, begin to recite the facts of your case as they are listed in the main body of your Petition including;
- Your name.
- Your county of residence.
- That you are asking the judge to grant a name change.
- What your birth date is and that you are 18 years old or older.
- That you want to change your name from what to what.
- The reason you want to change your name.
- That you are not changing your name with the intent to defraud any one.
If the judge has any questions, answer them as briefly as possible. When this part of the hearing is over, the judge should sign the order granting the change of name. Thank the judge and leave.
Then ask the judge to sign the form decree for you. Once the judge has signed your decree, take the decree to the clerk’s office and ask for a certified copy of it. This is proof that your name has officially changed.
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