Menu
Full Website

Instructions for Filing for a Name Change - Adult

Changing your name can be complicated; consider talking to an attorney. Information about finding an attorney is available on our Finding Legal Help page. One way to talk to an attorney is to visit a free legal clinic. See our Legal Clinics page for a list of clinics statewide.

Utah's laws about name change are Utah Code §42-1-1 through §42-1-3 and §77-41-105(9).


Before Filing the Name Change Petition

  • You must live in the county where the name change petition will be filed for at least one year before the petition is filed.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older. (To change the name of someone less than 18 years old, use the instructions and forms for changing a minor's name.)
  • You cannot file while you are involved in any kind of lawsuit, or while you are on probation or parole.
  • You must not be barred as a sex offender from name changes, under the provisions of Section 77-41-106, Utah Code.
  • You cannot file a name change petition to avoid creditors, fines, or sentences in criminal actions.
  • You may not use the name change process for an unworthy motive, or to commit fraud on the public.
  • The court will not change your name to one that is bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste.

Common Terms

  • Petition: The document that begins the name change process.
  • Petitioner: The person filing the Petition for Name Change.
  • May: In legal terms, "may" means "optional" or "can."
  • Shall: In legal terms, "shall" means something is required.

Fees

The fee for filing a name change petition is listed on the Cover Sheet for Civil Filing Actions, which must be filed with your Petition.

If you cannot afford the filing fee, fill out a Motion and Affidavit to Waive Fees. Sign this Application in front of a notary or the court clerk, and file it at the court when you file your Petition for Name Change. The judge will review your Application, and determine if you do not have to pay the fees. If the judge decides you are able to pay the fees, the judge will not sign the final order until the fees are paid.


Forms (for name change of an adult)

You can type your answers into the form, or you can print a blank form and handwrite your answers. It is always best to type information into the forms, rather than filling them in by hand. If a clerk or judge cannot read your handwriting, the documents will be returned to you to do them over. Forms required for changing an adult's name are:

  • Cover Sheet for Civil Actions - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Petition for Name Change - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Department of Corrections Certification Regarding Sex Offender Registry - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Request for Hearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice for Hearing on Petition for Name Change - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Order Changing Name - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word

Steps to Filing an Adult Name Change Case

  • Step 1: Obtain certification that your name is not listed on Utah's Sex Offender Registry. To do this, fill out your identifying information in the form titled "Department of Corrections Certification Regarding Sex Offender Registry." Then mail that form, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to the Department of Corrections at the address listed on the form. After the form has been completed and returned to you, attach it to your Petition for Name Change.
  • Step 2: Complete and file the appropriate forms.
    • Petition for Name Change
      • Fill in all the blanks on the Petition.
      • Attach to the Petition the completed Certification Regarding Sex Offender Registry form, obtained in Step 1 above.
      • Make copies of all documents to keep for your records.
      • Sign the Petition in the presence of a notary public or court clerk, who must verify your identity and your signature. It is best to do this before going to court. Most banks have a notary, although many may charge a fee for this service to non-customers. By signing in front of a notary, you are stating under oath that the document is true.
    • Cover sheet: This can be downloaded here.
    • Request for Hearing. The court will not schedule a hearing unless you request one.
    • Application and Affidavit for Waiver of Court Filing Fees: Complete this form only if your income is so low that you cannot pay the filing fee. For more information and forms, see our page on Fees and Fee Waiver"
  • Step 3: File your case with the court.
    • Take the documents identified in Steps 1 and 2 above to the district court in the county where you have lived for the past year. Locate the counter for the court clerk, and give these documents to the clerk, along with the required filing fee.
    • If the Petition was not yet signed in the presence of a Notary Public, you must sign it before the clerk at this time.
  • Step 4: Send any required notice about your name change petition. It is unusual for a judge to order that an adult seeking a name change must send notice to someone else. However, if the judge orders that you do this, you may obtain the appropriate form here:
    • Notice for Hearing on Petition for Name Change - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Step 5: Attend the hearing. At the hearing, this is what you should do:

    Because most name changes are granted, prepare the final Order Changing Name before the hearing, and bring it with you.

    Arrive early at court, dressed appropriately. Persons who show up in shorts, tank tops, or other causal wear may be asked to leave.

    Check the written calendar of cases to make sure you are in the right courtroom. Usually, a calendar of cases is posted outside the courtroom, and may also be placed on courtroom tables.

    If your case is not on the calendar, ask the court clerk about this. Speak to the clerk before or after the court session; never interrupt court proceedings to talk to the clerk.

    The court almost always sets more than one hearing at a time. Take a seat in the audience section of the courtroom until your case is called. When the judge enters, everyone stands until the bailiff says they may be seated.

    When your case is called, stand up, announce your presence to the judge, and say that you are representing yourself. When the judge indicates, walk to the podium. (Sometimes, though, the judge may ask that you be sworn in to testify from the witness stand about the information in your Petition.)

    Always address the judge as "Your Honor." Be courteous to all court personnel. Remember, the judge has the power to fine you or send you to jail if you are rude or discourteous.

    Answer any questions from the judge. Tell the judge that you have been a county resident for one year immediately before filing the petition, and the reasons you want to change your name. Also, tell the judge that no one else will be affected by your name change. If someone will be affected, tell what that impact will be. Be prepared to tell the judge about any court cases in which you are involved, and whether your are on probation or parole.

    If everything is proper and there is good cause for changing your name, the judge will announce this at the end of the hearing. After the judge makes a decision, ask permission to hand the judge the Order you have prepared. The judge will usually sign it at the end of the hearing, if it is correct.

    If the judge is not ready to decide your case after the hearing or trial, the judge will take it "under advisement." Later, the judge will send you a written decision. If the written decision grants the name change, then you should file the Order Changing Name with the court, so that the judge can sign it. Read the written decision carefully, though; make sure that the Order reflects what the judge's written decision actually states.

  • Step 6: Return to the court after the judge has signed the Order Changing Name, and ask the clerk for one or more certified copies of the Order. Keep these copies in a safe place, with other important papers. Then you will have the Order whenever you need it for purposes of changing your name (such as on your driver license, birth certificate, social security records, etc.). The court will charge a fee to copy and certify the Order.
  • Step 7: If the name change is denied, re-write the Order Changing Name to reflect the judge's decision, and file it with the court.
    • After the order denying the name change has been entered, you will have 30 days to appeal.
    • An appeal is beyond the scope of these instructions. To discuss the possibility of an appeal, you may want to contact an attorney or attend one of the pro se clinics mentioned elsewhere in these instructions.
  • Step 8: If you are changing your married name, your birth certificate does not need to be changed. The Office of Vital Records will not amend a birth certificate to change a birth name to a married name. A copy of your birth certificate along with the name change order should provide acceptable proof of your identity. If you need to change a birth certificate after obtaining a name change court order, you may do so by filing the order with the state registrar in one of the following ways:
    • Obtain an amended birth certificate by going to the Vital Records office, paying the fee, and presenting a certified copy of the court's name change order, as well as a valid picture identification. The Vital Records office is located at:
      Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics
      288 North 1460 West
      Salt Lake City, UT 84114
      (801) 538-6105
    • An amended birth certificate may also be obtained through the mail. That process involves some delay, because a notarized signature must be returned to the office before the amended birth certificate can be issued. The address for requesting an amended birth certificate by mail is:
      Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics
      P.O. Box 141012
      Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1012


Page Last Modified: 10/16/2013
Return to Top