Maryland Legal Name Change
Below are the relevant state statutes, as well as links to the form petitions and instructions for obtaining a legal name change for yourself or a minor.
If, after reviewing the information below, you find the need for further legal assistance, you should visit this online legal service.
If you are seeking a marriage name change or a divorce name change, your marriage license or divorce decree can serve as your legal name change document. Thus you can proceed to Name Change Notification, the final step of the name change process. Otherwise, read the information below and follow the links to learn about obtaining a legal name change.
Maryland State Code:
Sec. 15-901. Action for change of name.
(a) Applicability – This Rule applies to actions for change of name other than in connection with an adoption or divorce.
(b) Venue – An action for change of name shall be brought in the county where the person whose name is sought to be changed resides.
(c) Petition –
(1) Contents- The action for change of name shall be commenced by filing a petition captioned "In the Matter of . . ." [stating the name of the person whose name is sought to be changed] "for change of name to . . ." [stating the change of name desired]. The petition shall be under oath and shall contain at least the following information;
(A) the name, address, and date and place of birth of the person whose name is sought to be;
(B) whether the person whose name is sought to be changed has ever been known by any other name and, if so, the name or names and the circumstances under which they were used;
(C) the change of name desired;
(D) all reasons for the requested change;
(E) a certification that the petitioner is not requesting the name change for any illegal or fraudulent purpose; and
(F) if the person whose name is sought to be changed is a minor, the names and addresses of that person’s parents and any guardian or custodian.
(2) Documents to be attached to petition.- The petitioner shall attach to the petition a copy of a birth certificate or other documentary evidence from which the court can find that the current name of the person whose name is sought to be changed is as alleged.
(d) Service of petition – When required – If the person whose name is sought to be changed is a minor, a copy of the petition, any attachments, and the notice issued pursuant to section (e) of this Rule shall be served upon that person’s parents and any guardian or custodian in the manner provided by Rule 2-121. When proof is made by affidavit that good faith efforts to serve a parent, guardian, or custodian pursuant to Rule 2-121 (a) have not succeeded and that Rule 2-121 (b) is inapplicable or that service pursuant to that Rule is impracticable, the court may order that service may be made by:
(1) the publication required by subsection (e)(2) of this Rule and
(2) mailing a copy of the petition, any attachments, and notice by first class mail to the last known address of the parent, guardian, or custodian to be served.
(e) Notice –
(1) Issued by clerk.- Upon the filing of the petition, the clerk shall sign and issue a notice that
(A) includes the caption of the action,
(B) describes the substance of the petition and the relief sought, and
(C) states the latest date by which an objection to the petition may be filed.
(2) Publication.- Unless the court on motion of the petitioner orders otherwise, the notice shall be published one time in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least fifteen days before the date specified in the notice for filing an objection to the petition. The petitioner shall thereafter file a certificate of publication.
(f) Objection to petition – Any person may file an objection to the petition. The objection shall be filed within the time specified in the notice and shall be supported by an affidavit which sets forth the reasons for the objection. The affidavit shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth facts that would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated in the affidavit. The objection and affidavit shall be served upon the petitioner in accordance with Rule 1-321. The petitioner may file a response within 15 days after being served with the objection and affidavit. A person desiring a hearing shall so request in the objection or response under the heading "Request for Hearing."
(g) Action by court – After the time for filing objections and responses has expired, the court may hold a hearing or may rule on the petition without a hearing and shall enter an appropriate order, except that the court shall not deny the petition without a hearing if one was requested by the petitioner.
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