Oklahoma Name Changes for Adults and Children
A person’s name is a core part of their identity. It signals to the rest of the world the family that they belong to. Even in the 21st century, a last name can carry certain assumptions (both good and bad). This is especially true in small towns in rural Oklahoma.
But what happens if you do not like the name you are born with? Or what if your child does not share your last name? For both adults and children, Oklahoma law gives a process for legally changing a first and/or last name. This post will discuss the basic steps and potential pitfalls in an adult or child name change case.
Adult Name Changes
In Oklahoma, it is relatively simple for an adult to change their name. But, unfortunately, it is not something you can do on your own. You will have to go in front of a judge and get them to approve the change.
The first step is to write a petition explaining why you want your name changed. You can change your name for any reason that is not illegal or fraudulent. You have to actually put down a statement saying you are not changing it for any illegal or fraudulent purpose. You must say what your current name is and what you want it to be changed to. You write down where you were born and the number on your birth certificate.
Once that has been written out, you sign the petition under penalty of perjury. Then, you file it in the county where you have lived for the past 30 days and pay the required filing fee to the court clerk. You will also need to bring an order for a hearing. This order will say that you have filed a name change petition and will give the day and time that your petition will be heard by the judge.
You must take this order to a newspaper in your county that publishes legal notices. You have to pay them to print the order in the Legal Notice section once. The order must be printed at least a week before your hearing.
On the day and time of your hearing, you go in front of the judge. You will need to have a separate order stating what your name is being changed to and directing state agencies to make the changes to your birth certificate. If no one else objects, the judge will sign your order. You will need to get certified copies of this latest order and send it to the relevant state agency. You must follow their instructions and pay any necessary fees to get your new birth certificate.
Child Name Changes
Changing a child’s name can be more complicated. If both parents are alive and agree to the name change, then the court will approve it using the same process for adults. If one parent is deceased, then the living parent can also change the child’s surname with ease.
But when both parents are alive and do not agree on the name change, then the issue becomes trickier. Usually, it is the mother who is trying to change the child’s last name, so the following information is based on that assumption.
The current law is conflicted on this issue. Some cases have said that a child’s last name cannot be changed over the objection of the father. Some say that it can be as long as the father was given notice. Mostly, the difference seems to be whether the parents had been married or not. It appears that a mother who was never married has an easier time changing the child’s last name than a mother who was married to the father. But, there is also a law that allows an unmarried father to give the child his last name relatively easily.
Getting An Oklahoma Name Change
As you can see, getting a name changed can be easy or difficult depending on the circumstances. An adult name change is one of the few cases a person can reasonably handle without a lawyer. However, there are specific steps that you have to take and messing them up can cost you time and money. Changing a child’s name is even more difficult and really requires the help of an attorney.
If you want to change your name or your child’s name, you should speak to an experienced, intelligent, and compassionate family law attorney. Contact the Law Office of Evan Humphreys today for help with name changes.
The content of this post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice.