Oral Arguments are happening now. View them on the web or via Mobile App on iPhone / iPad or Android (4.0+).

You are here

Filing a Petition to Change the Name of a Child(ren)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

 

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 the name(s) of his or her minor child(ren).

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.

Introduction

The procedure for legally changing the name(s) of a minor child or children is complicated.  Note:  In Nebraska, a “minor” is a child who has not yet turned age 19.  It is up to you to decide whether and how you use a lawyer in your case.  The law allows you to do the case without a lawyer, which is also known as proceeding pro se (pronounced “pro-say”). 

These forms and instructions are intended only for cases where:

  • A parent wishes to change a minor child’s or children’s name(s);
  • The petitioning adult and the minor child(ren) have/has resided in the county where the Petition is to be filed for at least one year before filing the Petition;
  • The minor child(ren)’s other parent consents to the change of the minor child(ren)’s name(s), or you know the other parent will not contest the action to change the minor child(ren)’s name(s), or the address of the minor child(ren)’s other parent is unknown.

YOU CANNOT USE THESE FORMS IF:

  • You do not know if the minor child(ren)’s other parent will consent to the change of the minor child(ren)’s name(s); or
  • You know the minor child(ren)’s other parent will contest the change of the minor child(ren)’s name(s).

Facts About Filing for a Name Change in Nebraska

  • Any adult wishing to change a child’s or children’s name(s) may file a Petition in the district court in the county in which the adult and minor child(ren) reside so long as the adult and minor child(ren) have been bona fide residents of that county for at least one (1) year before filing the Petition for a name change.
  • You may change the minor child(ren)’s first name(s), middle name(s), and/or last name(s).
  • If you have more than one minor child in your custody and you want to change their names at the same time, you can do that in one Petition – you do not need to file a separate petition for each child.  You can simply list each child’s name in the Petition.
  • If you are requesting different name changes for more than one child, then you will need to file a separate Petition for each child.  This will involve paying a separate filing fee and publication fee for each child.
  • If you are a single mother who has more than one minor child in your custody whose names you want to change, but there is more than one father involved, then you will need to file a separate Petition for each child.  This will involve paying a separate filing fee and publication fee for each child.
  • There is a cost to filie a Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children.  Once you file the Petition the 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 a minor child’s or children’s name(s) (see Legal Notice below).
  • A Legal Notice of your Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children must be published once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in the newspaper, which will cost money.  Before filing paperwork with the court you should call the newspaper and ask the cost of publishing a Legal Notice for two (2) consecutive weeks (costs differ from newspaper to newspaper) and have that money available before you file the Petition.
  • If you file a Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children 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

Forms

Complete list of forms and instructions.

Filing the forms

To begin the process you must take your completed Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children (DC 6:11(1)) along with the filing fee to the Clerk of the District Court in the county in which you and the minor child(ren) reside.  Please refer to the Instructions for Filling out the Petition (DC 6:11(1a)) for details on how to fill out the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children.

Legal Notice by Publication

  • After filing the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children you must give notice that you are changing the name of the minor child(ren).  This notice must be given in a newspaper either published in the county where the Petition is filed, or in a newspaper in general circulation in the county.  Before you can prepare the Legal Notice you will need to set a hearing date.  To set a hearing date ask the Clerk for the name and phone number of the bailiff or other court personnel to contact in order to schedule the hearing.  The hearing should not be scheduled sooner than approximately four (4) weeks from the time you filed your Petition, to give you the necessary time to have the Legal Notice published once a week for two (2) weeks prior to the hearing.
  • Once you have a hearing date you should immediately complete the Legal Notice (DC 6:11(2)) form using the Instructions for Filling out the Legal Notice for Publication (DC 6:11(2a)).  Contact the newspaper to arrange for publication of the Legal Notice and ask the newspaper to provide the court with proof that the Legal Notice was published at least once a week for two (2) weeks.  Some papers will mail this proof (called an Affidavit of Publication) directly to you.  If that happens, take the original Affidavit of Publication to the Clerk of the District Court for filing. 

Consent by Other Parent

If the other parent agrees to the name change for the child(ren), that parent should complete and sign a Consent (DC 6:11(3)) which you will give to the court at the time of the hearing.  Please refer to the Instructions for Filling out the Consent (DC 6:11(3)) for details on how to fill out this form.

Notice to Parent

You will need to send a copy of a Notice to Parent (DC 6:11(4)) to the other parent giving them notice that you filed the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children.  Please refer to the Instructions for Filling out the Notice to Parent (DC 6:11(4a)) for details on how to fill out this form.  A copy of the Notice must be sent to the other parent by certified mail within five (5) days after publication in the newspaper.  If the other parent pays child support, the Notice must be sent to the other parent at the address last provided to the Clerk of the District Court.  Call the office of the Clerk of the District Court where the child support order was entered and ask for the other parent’s current address.  If you know that the other parent no longer lives at the address provided to you by the Clerk, you may want to mail the Notice to both the address provided by the Clerk and the address where you know the other parent currently lives.  If no address for the other parent is on file with the Clerk of the District Court because no court case has ever been filed against the other parent and you do not know the address of the other parent, you do not need to prepare and file the Notice to Parent.

When you go to the post office to mail the Notice, ask the post office to send it by certified mail to the other parent.  You do not need to send the Notice by registered mail, nor do you need to insure it.  Also, you do not need to have the other parent sign for the Notice when it is delivered; it is okay if any adult signs for the Notice when it is delivered.  Keep the green card that the post office sends back to you in case the court wants to see it at the hearing.

Court Hearing on Name Change

  • Before the hearing date you must prepare the Decree for Name Change of a Minor Child (DC 6:11(5)) using the Instructions for Filling out the Decree for Name Change of a Minor Child (DC 6:11(5)).  If you are changing the name of more than one child you must prepare a Decree of Name Change of a Minor Child for each child for whom you are requesting a name change.  Prepare your testimony for the hearing.  You should bring two copies of each Decree for Name Change of a Minor Child to the hearing.  The judge will keep the original signed Decree for the court file and will give you a copy for your records.
  • Before 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 two (2) consecutive weeks or, if the affidavit is sent to you, you must file it with the court.  You should take file stamped copies of the Affidavit of Publication and Notice to Parent to the hearing in case the judge wants you to have them marked as Exhibits at the hearing.
  • Before the hearing date you should also check with the Judge’s Bailiff to see if the minor child(ren) will be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing and whether or not the judge will want the minor child(ren) present during the hearing.
  • You must attend the hearing and testify under oath about the issues raised in the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child or Children.  The issues raised are covered in the Instructions for Minor Child(ren) Name Change Hearing (DC 6:11(a)).
  • Once the court has granted your request for the minor child’s or child(ren)’s name change(s) and has signed the Decree(s) for Name Change of a Minor you should get a certified copy of the Decree(s) for Name Change of a Minor Child from the Clerk of the District Court.  Once you have received a certified copy of the Decree(s), you may use the certified copy(ies) to change the minor   child(ren)’s records, including Social Security Administration records.

 

This page was last modified on Monday, February 3, 2014