By: Susan Berry
Susan C. Berry is an Associate Attorney at WhitbeckBennett. Before coming to WB, Susan worked in the Family Law and Estate and Probate practice areas for nine years in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She is an experienced litigator with a passion for law and offers expertise in handling court cases and negotiating favorable settlements. To learn more about Susan, click here.
How to Legally Change your Name as an Adult in Maryland
If you are unhappy with your given name, over the age of 18, and wish to change your name in the state of Maryland, you must file to have it legally changed to the name you desire.
You will need to take the following steps:
File a Petition for a Change of Name
If you are an adult choosing to change your name, as the Petitioner, you must:
- File the Petition in the county in which you are currently living.
- You must attach documents attesting to your current name, i.e., Birth Certificate.
- You must also provide documents that officially change your name, i.e., marriage certificate, driver’s license, or passport.
Your Petition must contain your date of birth and the city, state, county, or country you were born. You then state your given name. Then you must state if your name has been changed since birth and give the reason why. The reason can be as simple as your parents changed your name to a former marriage.
Next, you must tell the court if you are a registered sex offender. This is very important because of public safety issues.
The next portion of your petition must include why you are requesting the name change, such as marriage, divorce, religious reasons, or gender identity. You then state what you want your new name to be.
If you are changing your name due to gender identity, inform the court what your gender or sex is and your desired gender or sex. This is important if you are changing your gender identity (sex designation) on your birth certificate and other identity documents.
Your last requirement is to note that you are not changing your name for fraudulent purposes.
Lastly, you must ask the court to change your name, your birth certificate if you would like, and/or your gender identity and issue a court order to do either one or all of these things. You then sign and date the Petition, providing your address as well. You then file it with the Circuit Court in your county. The cost to file may vary depending on the county. Once filed, the court will let you know when to put a publication in the newspaper as well as the deadline to file an opposition.
Publication in a Newspaper
Another requirement for the court to change your name is to file Notice of it in the newspaper. You can choose which newspaper you would like, but some counties may have a newspaper they prefer you to use. The Washington Daily Law Report or the Washington Informer are common papers that are more reasonably priced than, say, The Washington Post or The Baltimore Sun Times.
Once you have chosen your paper there is a form on the Maryland Court website you can use as a Certificate of Publication. It is form ccdr075. You must follow the directions on the form and attach the Notice that was place in the newspaper. You then submit the form to the court once this has been accomplished. The Notice must only be published one time in the newspaper, and it must be done before an objection to the name change is filed.
Objection to Name Change
If a person seeks to object to a name change, they must present a reason why they object to the court. They must make an Objection to Petition for Change of Name. The objection must be before the deadline on the Notice of Publication. The person objecting must also serve a copy of the objection to the person asking for the change of name. The objector can also ask the court to hold a hearing in the matter.
Circuit Court Order
Once the Circuit court has granted a change of name, they will provide an Order that will haver permanently changed your name and allow you to have any documents changed to reflect your new name.
If you are considering a change of name and are a Maryland resident, you should consult an attorney to represent and assist you in the matter.