These instructions and forms are a product of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation and are provided as a public service to people who wish to change their name.
THE SUPREME COURT DOES NOT REPRESENT THAT THESE INSTRUCTIONS AND FORMS WILL BE APPROPRIATE IN EVERY CASE. ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING THE USE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FORMS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO A LAWYER.
Although these instructions and forms were developed to assist people who are handling their own cases, the Supreme Court’s Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation urges anyone thinking of handling their own case to consider getting a lawyer to help with their case.
Each district court has specific local rules that may apply in your case. Check with the Clerk of the District Court in your county. If you fail to follow the local rules, you may not be able to finish your case.
The procedure for legally changing your name is somewhat complicated. It is up to you to decide whether and how you use a lawyer in your case. The law allows you to do your own name change, which is also known as proceeding pro se (pronounced “pro-say”). This packet of forms and instructions is intended for an adult who wishes to change his or her name, and has resided in the county where the Petition is to be filed for at least one year before filing the Petition.
Facts About Filing for a Name Change in Nebraska
- Any person wishing to change his or her name may file a petition in the district court in the county in which the person resides so long as that person has been a bona fide resident of that county for at least one (1) year before filing the petition for a name change.
- You may change your first name, middle name, and/or your last name.
- There is a cost to filie a Petition for Name Change. Once you file your Petition your case will be assigned a case number. This number must be on all documents filed with the court. You should be aware that there are additional costs associated with providing notice that you intend to change your name (see Legal Notice below).
- A Legal Notice of your Petition for Name Change must be published once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks in the newspaper, which will add cost to the process of your name change. Before filing paperwork you should be sure that you have all the money you will need to complete the process. You should call the newspaper and ask the cost of filing a Legal Notice for four consecutive weeks (costs differ from newspaper to newspaper) and have that money available before you file your petition.
- If you file a Petition for Name Change without the assistance of an attorney you must complete all the forms necessary. The Clerk of the District Court cannot assist you in preparing any legal documents, or advise you of the process.
Forms and Filing
Complete list of forms and instructions.
Filing the forms
To begin the process you must take your completed Petition for Name Change (DC 6:9(1)) along with the filing fee to the Clerk of the District Court in the county in which you reside. Please refer to the Instructions for Filling out the Petition (DC 6:9(1a)) for details on how to fill out the Petition for Name Change.
Legal Notice by Publication
- After filing the Petition for Name Change you must give notice that you are changing your name in a newspaper either published in the county where the Petition is filed, or in a newspaper in general circulation in that county. Before the Legal Notice can be prepared you will need to set a hearing date. To set a hearing date ask the Clerk the name and phone number of the bailiff or other court personnel to contact to schedule the hearing. The hearing should not be scheduled any sooner than approximately six (6) weeks from the time you filed your Petition, so as to give you the necessary time to have the Legal Notice published once a week for four (4) weeks prior to the hearing.
- Once you have a hearing date you should immediately complete the Legal Notice form (DC 6:9(2)) and contact the newspaper to arrange the publication of the Legal Notice, as well as to have the newspaper provide the court with proof that the Legal Notice was published at least once a week for four (4) weeks. Please refer to the Instructions for Filling out the Legal Notice for Publication (DC 6:9(2a)) for details on how to fill out this form.
Court Hearing on Name Change
- Prior to the hearing date set for the case you must prepare the Decree of Name Change (DC 6:9(3)) using the Instructions for Filling out the Decree of Name Change (DC 6:9(3a)) as well as prepare your testimony for the hearing. You will want to bring two copies of the Decree of Name Change to your hearing. The judge will keep an original with his or her signature for the Court file and will give you a copy for your records.
- Prior to the hearing date you should check with the Clerk of the District Court to make sure the newspaper has filed an affidavit saying the Legal Notice was published once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks.
- You must attend the hearing and testify under oath about the issues raised in the Petition for Name Change. The issues raised are covered in the Instructions for Your Adult Name Change Hearing (DC 6:9(a)).
- Once the Court has granted your request for a name change and signed the Decree of Name Change you will need to obtain a certified copy of the Decree of Name Change from the Clerk of the District Court. Once you have received a certified copy of the Decree, you may use that certified copy to change your records with the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as the Social Security Administration.