North Carolina Legal Name Change


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Legal Name Change Info and State Statutes

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We encourage you to read and learn as much as possible about the legal name change process. There is a lot to know and the process differes by state. Thus we have provided all of this information to give you an understanding of the overall process and the specific rules that may apply to you.

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 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.


Our e-guide provides you with all the forms you need and walks you through the process with detailed instructions, specified to your needs and location, so you can change your name as quickly and easily as possible.


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North Carolina State Code:

Sec. 101-1. Legislature may regulate change by general but not private law. The General Assembly shall not have power to pass any private law to alter the name of any person, but shall have power to pass general laws regulating the same. (Const., Art. II, s. 11; Rev., s. 2146; C.S., s. 2970.)

Sec. 101-2. Procedure for changing name; petition; notice. A person who wishes, for good cause shown, to change his name must file his application before the clerk of the superior court of the county in which he lives, having first given 10 days’ notice of the application by publication at the courthouse door. Applications to change the name of minor children may be filed by their parent or parents or guardian or next friend of such minor children, and such applications may be joined in the application for a change of name filed by their parent or parents: Provided nothing herein shall be construed to permit one parent to make such application on behalf of a minor child without the consent of the other parent of such minor child if both parents be living, except that a minor who has reached the age of 16 years, upon proper application to the clerk may change his or her name, with the consent of the a parent who has custody of the minor and has supported the minor, without the necessity of obtaining the consent of the other parent, when the clerk of court is satisfied that the other parent has abandoned the minor. Provided, further, that a change of parentage or the addition of information relating to parentage on the birth certificate of any person shall be made pursuant to G.S.130A-118. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the consent of a parent who has abandoned a minor child shall not be required if there is filed with the clerk a copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction adjudicating that such parent has abandoned such minor child. In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction has not therefore declared the minor child to be an abandoned child then on written notice of not less than 10 days to the parent allege to have abandoned the child, by registered or certified mail directed to such parent’s last known address, the clerk of superior court is hereby authorized to determine whether an abandonment has taken place. If said parent denies that an abandonment has taken place, this issue of fact shall be determined as provided in G.S. 1-273, and if abandonment is determined, then the consent of said parent shall not be required. Upon final determination of this issue of fact the proceeding shall be transferred back to the special proceedings docket for further action by the clerk.(1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2147; C.S., s. 2971; 1947, c. 115; 1953, c. 678; 1955, c. 951, s. 3; 1957, c. 1442; 1959, c. 1161, s. 7;1971, c. 444, s. 1; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.2 (f).)

Sec. 101-3. Contents of petition. The applicant shall state in the application his true name, county of birth, date of birth, the full name of parents as shown on birth certificate, the name he desires to adopt, his reasons for desiring such change, and whether his name has ever before been changed by law, and, if so, the facts with respect thereto.(1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2147; C.S., s. 2972; 1945, c. 37, s. 1;1957, c. 1233, s. 1.)

Sec. 101-4. Proof of good character to accompany petition. The applicant shall also file with said petition proof of his good character, which proof must be made by at least two citizens of the county who know his standing: Provided, however, proof of good character shall not be required when the application is for the change of name of a child under 16 years of age.(1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2148; C.S., s. 2973; 1963, c. 206.)

Sec. 101-5. Clerk to order change; certificate and record. If the clerk thinks that good and sufficient reason exists for the change of name, it shall be his duty to issue an order changing the name of the applicant from his true name to the name sought to be adopted. Such order shall contain the true name, the county of birth, the date of birth, the full name of parents as shown on birth certificate, and the name sought to be adopted. He shall issue to the applicant a certificate under his hand and seal of office, stating the change made in the applicant’s name, and shall also record said application and order on the docket of special proceedings in his court. He shall forward the order to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics on a form provided by him. If the applicant was born in North Carolina, the State Registrar shall note the change of name of the individual or individuals specified in the order on the birth certificate of that individual or those individuals and shall notify the register of deeds in the county of birth. If the applicant was born in another state of the United States, the State Registrar shall forward the notice of change of name to the registration office of the state of birth.(1891, c. 145; Rev., ss. 2149, 2150; C.S., s. 2974; 1955, c. 951,s. 4; 1957, c. 1233, s. 2; 1971, c. 444, s. 2.)

Sec. 101-6. Effect of change; only one change, except as provided.
(a) When the order is made and the applicant’s name changed, he is entitled to all the privileges and protection under his new name as he would have been under the old name. No person shall be allowed to change his name under this Chapter but once, except that he shall be permitted to resume his former name upon compliance with the requirements and procedure set forth in this Chapter for change of name, and except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) For good cause shown, and upon compliance with the requirements and procedure set forth in this Chapter for change of name the name of a minor child may be changed not more than two times under this Chapter.(1891, c. 145; Rev., ss. 2147, 2149; C.S., s. 2975; 1945, c. 37,s. 2; 1991, c. 333, s. 1.)

Sec. 101-7. Recording name change. When the name of any individual, corporation, partnership, or association has been changed in a manner provided by law, any attorney licensed to practice law in this State may file an affidavit with the clerk of superior court stating facts concerning the change of name. The clerk shall cause the affidavit to be filed and indexed among the records of his office, pursuant to G.S. 7A-180 (3) and G.S.7A-343 (3). The clerk shall also forward a copy of the affidavit under the seal of his office to the clerk of superior court of any other county named in the affidavit where it shall also be filed and indexed in accordance with this section. Affidavits filed and indexed under this section are for informational purposes only and neither the affidavit nor the manner of its filing and indexing shall in any manner affect the rights or liabilities of any person.(1971, c. 592, s. 1.)

Sec. 101-8. Resumption of name by widow or widower. A person at any time after the person is widowed may, upon application to the clerk of court of the county in which the person resides setting forth the person’s intention to do so, resume the use of her maiden name or the name of a prior deceased husband or of a previously divorced husband in the case of a widow, or his pre-marriage surname in the case of a widower. The application shall set forth the full name of the last spouse of the applicant, shall include a copy of the spouse’s death certificate, and shall be signed by the applicant in the applicant’s full name. The clerks of court of the several counties of this State shall record and index such applications in the manner required by the Administrative Office of the Courts. (1979, c. 768; 1981, c. 564, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994).

State Name Change Petition and Instructions
Adult Form Instructions
Child Form Instructions



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