hide my visit

Instructions & Forms for Child Name Change - Both parents agree to file together

 

These instructions explain the steps to change your child’s name if you and the child’s other parent agree to file the request for name change together. Each step includes a link to the form or forms needed for that step.  Just click on the step to expand with more information.

Before getting started, read the Frequently Asked Questions included in this toolkit: I want to change my child’s name.

Important: These instructions provide general information and are not a substitute for the advice and help of a lawyer.

You can print these instructions to use as a checklist. -- Click Here to print the instructions.

Or, to print both the instructions and forms click here.

Hide Checklist

Step 1: Fill out your court forms.

Fill out these forms:

  • Petition to Change the Name of a Child
    • This form asks the judge to change your child’s name. You and your child’s other parent must sign this form under penalty of perjury. This means it is a crime to lie on this form.
    • You are the “Petitioner.” The child’s other parent is the “Co-Petitioner.”
    • Print your answers using blue or black ink. Do not leave blanks.
  • Order Changing the Name of a Child
    • You will ask the judge to sign this form to change your child’s name. You must fill it out before going to court. Fill out all blanks except: 1) the date of judgment, 2) the judge’s signature and 3) the judge’s name.
    • This form must also be signed by both you and the other parent.

Fill out this additional form if your child is 10 years old or older:

  • Child’s Consent to Name Change (For Child Age 10 or Older)
    • This form must be signed by your child if your child is 10 years old or older. It tells the judge that your child wants his or her name to be changed. Note: If your child is 10 years old or older, you cannot change your child’s name without his or her consent.

Fill out this additional form if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee for your case. Call the clerk’s office in the county where the child lives to learn the filing fee for your case.

Step 2: Make copies.

Make one copy of each of the following:

  • your completed Petition to Change the Name of a Child (signed by both you and the other parent), and
  • your Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (if you cannot afford the filing fee), and
  • your child’s completed Child’s Consent to Name Change (if your child is 10 or older).

You do not need copies of the Civil Case Information Sheet form, the Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship form or the Order Changing the Name of a Child form.

Step 3: File your forms with the court.

File (turn in) your completed forms at the district clerk’s office in the county where your child lives.

At the clerk’s office:

  • Turn in your completed court forms (and copies), except the Order Changing the Name of a Child form. Don’t turn in the Order form yet. You will present the Order form to the judge when you go to court.
  • Pay the filing fee or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee.
  • The clerk will write your “Cause Number” and “Court Number” at the top of the first page of your Petition to Change the Name of a Child and other forms. (Write these numbers at the top of your Order Changing the Name of a Child form.)
  • The clerk will “file-stamp” your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the originals and give you back your copies.
  • Ask the clerk if there are local rules or procedures you need to know about for your case.

Ask the clerk when you can present your proposed Order Changing the Name of a Child to a judge. You may be able to present your proposed order to a judge that day. Or you may have to come back another day.

Step 4: Go to court to finish your case.

Go to court to finish your case. Read the article Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to court.

When you get to the courtroom, tell the judge’s clerk you are there and give the clerk the following documents:

  • your completed proposed Order Changing the Name of a Child (signed by both you and the other parent), and
  • the file-stamped copy of your Petition to Change the Name of a Child, and
  • the file-stamped copy of the Child’s Consent to Name Change (if applicable).

Sit down until the judge calls your case.

When the judge calls your case, walk to the front of the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench. The judge will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth. Tell the judge that you and your child’s other parent are asking that your child’s name be changed. Be prepared to quickly tell the judge why you think changing your child’s name is in your child’s best interest.

The judge will listen to what you say and review your forms. If everything is in order and the judge agrees that changing your child’s name would be in your child’s best interest, the judge will sign your Order Changing the Name of a Child.

Step 5: File the signed Order with the clerk.

After the judge signs your Order Changing the Name of a Child, go back to the clerk’s office.

  • File (turn in) the signed Order Changing the Name of a Child. Your case is NOT final until you do so.
  • Get several certified copies of the Order Changing the Name of a Child from the clerk. You must pay a small fee for each certified copy. You will need certified copies of the Order to change your child’s name on your child’s social security card, birth certificate, passport, school records, etc. Each agency will want a certified copy of the Order to keep. You will also want a certified copy of the Order for your records.
Step 6: After your case is finished.

You are responsible for notifying the appropriate agencies of your child’s new name.

  • To change your child’s social security card, contact your local social security office.
  • To change your child’s Texas birth certificate, contact the Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Unit. Read about birth certificate amendments and get the application here. If your child was born in another state, contact the vital statistics office in that state.

  • To change your child’s passport, contact your local passport office.
  • To change your child’s school records, take a certified copy of the Order to your child’s school.