Delaware Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in DE

A Delaware name change form can be used to petition the Court of Common Pleas to change the name of an adult or a minor residing in the State. Each county in Delaware has its own set of forms and filing procedures. Therefore, the applicant should be sure to follow the instructions relative to the county in which they reside. An applicant who wishes to change their name for marriage or divorce will not be required to use the Delaware name change forms. Instead, the individual may simply show their marriage license or divorce decree as legal evidence of their name change.

Laws – § 5901 – § 5905

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

A new last name can be established by entering the name into the applicable space on the marriage license application. Additionally, you will need to specify your former name by entering it in the area of the form labeled “Birth Last Name.” After your marriage is finalized, obtain a certified copy of your marriage license from the Clerk of the Peace in your county. Certified copies can be obtained by mail or in person for a fee of $25. You may also request a certified copy online, though a $14.95 processing fee and $2.50 shipping fee will be charged in addition to the purchase price. Select the link below which corresponds with your county to learn more about how you can obtain a certified copy of your marriage license.

After receiving the certified copy, you can use it at government offices and other agencies to update your personal records. You should notify the Social Security Administration and obtain a new social security card. If you have a Delaware driver’s license or ID card, you will also want to notify the DMV and request a new card.

Name Change After Divorce

When filling out your dissolution paperwork, you must specifically state your intention to revert back to your former name, or maiden name. There will be an area of the forms that can be used for this purpose. After filing the paperwork, use your divorce decree as legal evidence of your name change. The decree will be accepted by the Social Security Administration, DMV, and other agencies which have your former name on file.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

The process of changing your name as an adult in Delaware involves filling out several forms and submitting them to the Court of Common Pleas. All processing and filing fees must be furnished at your own expense. Once the process has been completed and your name has been changed, you will be issued an Order form which can be used as legal proof that your name has changed.

Note: Be sure to make several copies of each form before filing them with the Court of Common Pleas.

Step 1 – Petition for Name Change

Download the Petition for Name Change form which corresponds with your county of residence. Fill out the form completely but do not sign as a notary public must be present when your signature is provided. If you are filing in Kent County, leave the area designated for the notary public unfilled as well. The forms that are available for each county are as follows:

Step 2 – Affidavit

If you are filing your change of name request in Sussex County or New Castle County, you will need to fill out an Affidavit and attach it to your written petition. Download and complete the affidavit that is specific to the county in which you reside.

Note: The Affidavit for Kent County is provided on page 2 of the Petition for Name Change form.

Step 3 – Notarize Documents

You will need to have your paperwork notarized by a notary public. A notary public should be available at your local bank, though you can also locate a private notary public by conducting a search on the American Association of Notaries website.

The notary public will have you sign your documents in front of them. After providing your signature, the individual will fill out the remaining fields of the Affidavit and return your filings back to you.

Step 4 – Notice of Name Change for Publication

Notice of your change of name request must be given to the general public. This is accomplished by publishing an article in a local newspaper. If you live in New Castle County or Sussex County, you are required to publish a Notice of Name Change form once a week for three (3) weeks consecutively.

If you live in Kent County, you will need to publish your Petition for Name Change and Affidavit (page 2 of the Petition for Name Change) once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks.

The Court of Common Pleas will only accept articles which have been published in the following newspapers:

Kent County

  • The Delaware State News – 110 Galaxy Dr, Dover, DE 19903, phone: (302) 674-3600
  • The Dover Post – 1196 S Little Creek Rd, Dover, DE 19901, (302) 678-3616

New Castle County

  • News Journal Company – 950 W. Basin Road, New Castle, DE 19720, phone: (302) 324-2500
  • Newark Post – 218 E. Main Street, Suite 109, Newark, DE 19711, phone: (302) 737-0724
  • New Castle Weekly – 203 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720, phone: (302) 328-6005
  • Middletown Transcript – 24 W. Main Street, Middletown, Delaware 19709, phone: (302) 378-9531

Sussex County

  • The Sussex Countian – 1196 S. Little Creek Road, P.O. Box 664, Dover, DE 19903, phone: (302) 856-0026
  • The Sussex Post – 37 North Walnut Street, Milford, DE 19963, phone: (302) 422-1200
  • The Cape Gazette – 17585 Nassau Commons Blvd., Lewes, DE 19958, phone: (302) 645-7700
  • The Chronicle – 37 North Walnut Street, Milford, DE 19963, phone: (302) 422-1200

After publishing the article, you will receive an Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper. This document must be attached to the rest of your filings.

Step 5 – File with the Court of Common Pleas

Take your filings to Court of Common Pleas in your county and submit them to a clerk of the court. Included with your filing package must be the Petition for Name Change, Affidavit, Affidavit of Publication received from the newspaper, photo identification, and payment for the $85 filing fee. The filing fee entitles you to a security assessment and one (1) certified copy of the Order form (or two (2) if filing in Sussex County) which will be signed by a judge or commissioner. After submitting your filings, ask the clerk to notify you of the date and time of your hearing.

Step 6 – Attend Hearing

Arrive thirty (30) minutes prior to your scheduled hearing in order to be directed to the proper courtroom. Be prepared to respond to any questions that the judge may have. The judge will review your case before determining whether or not your name change request is valid. If the request is approved, the judge will indicate this on an Order form which you will receive after the judgment has been made. Additional certified copies of the Order form can be purchased for a fee of $10. Use this document as proof of your name change when updating your personal identification documents.

Driver’s License

You will need to update your social security card before changing the name on your driver’s license. To update your social security card, visit a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office and submit the following:

Review this list to find out what forms are accepted. A new social security card showing the new name will be delivered to you by mail.

After your name has been changed, and after you have updated your social security card, you must contact the DMV within thirty (30) days to obtain a new driver’s license. Go to a Delaware DMV and provide an agent with the following:

  • Current driver’s license
  • Original or certified copy of your name change document (e.g., marriage certificate, court order)
  • Updated social security card
  • Payment for the $1.15 processing fee

A new driver’s license will be issued after the above items have been provided to the DMV.

Voter Registration

The name recorded on your voter registration can be updated online by signing into the elections website and selecting the option to change your name. You can also update your information by submitting a new Voter Registration Form to the Department of Elections office in your county. Along with the registration form, you must present your Delaware driver’s license or ID card, and a copy of either a current bank statement, utility bill, government check, or other government document showing your name and address.

Minor (Child) Name Change

A minor residing in Delaware may only have their name changed by their parent or guardian. Any request for a change of name must be filed with the Court of Common Pleas located in the county where the child resides. When navigating through the tutorial below, you will be instructed as to what forms must be photocopied due to a filing requirement. However, it is recommended that you make several copies of each form for your personal records regardless of whether or not a copy is needed.

Step 1 – Petition for Name Change

A written petition will be used to state the reason for the name change and to provide the court with some of your personal information. Download the Petition for Name Change form below that corresponds with the county where you reside.

Ensure that the form has been filled out completely except for the signature fields and the areas designated for the notary public (if any). Make a photocopy of the form once completed.

Additional Instructions – Kent County

  • The petition must be signed by both of the child’s natural parents, if possible (see step 7 for more information)

Additional Instructions – New Castle County and Sussex County

  • If the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age, the child must also sign the petition
  • If one (1) or both of the child’s natural parents are deceased, the petition must include the names of the deceased parents and the date of death; section 8(b) of the petition is meant for this purpose
  • If the natural parents are deceased, a copy of their death certificate must be provided
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate should be included with the petition (if available)
  • If you are the child’s legal guardian, a copy of the court order for your guardianship must be attached to the petition

Step 2 – Affidavit

If you are filing in New Castle County or Sussex County, you will need to prepare an Affidavit and attach it to your written petition. Download the following form that matches your county of residence:

Note: The Affidavit for Kent County is included on the second page of the Petition for Name Change.

Step 3 – Notarize Documents

Take both the Petition for Name Change and Affidavit to a notary public to have the documents notarized. A notary public should be available at your local bank. You can also find a notary public by conducting a notary search.

The notary public will have you sign both of the documents in their presence. Afterward, they will fill out the rest of the Affidavit and return the notarized documents back to you.

Additional Instructions – New Castle and Sussex County

  • If the child has another parent who is able to sign, the individual must also sign the Petition for Name Change and Affidavit

Step 4 – Notice of Name Change for Publication

It will be necessary for you notify the general public of your request to change the child’s name. To do this, you must publish an article in a local newspaper once a week for three (3) weeks in a row.

If you are filing in Kent County, the notice you publish should be that of your Petition for Name Change and Affidavit. If you are filing in New Castle County or Sussex County, you will need to download and complete the appropriate Notice of Name Change form below and have it published in the newspaper.

Articles may only be published in the newspapers which have been approved by the Court of Common Pleas. The following newspapers have been permitted for publication by the Court:

Kent County

  • The Delaware State News – 110 Galaxy Dr, Dover, DE 19903, phone: (302) 674-3600
  • The Dover Post – 1196 S Little Creek Rd, Dover, DE 19901, (302) 678-3616

New Castle County

  • News Journal Company – 950 W. Basin Road, New Castle, DE 19720, phone: (302) 324-2500
  • Newark Post – 218 E. Main Street, Suite 109, Newark, DE 19711, phone: (302) 737-0724
  • New Castle Weekly – 203 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720, phone: (302) 328-6005
  • Middletown Transcript – 24 W. Main Street, Middletown, Delaware 19709, phone: (302) 378-9531

Sussex County

  • The Sussex Countian – 1196 S. Little Creek Road, P.O. Box 664, Dover, DE 19903, phone: (302) 856-0026
  • The Sussex Post – 37 North Walnut Street, Milford, DE 19963, phone: (302) 422-1200
  • The Cape Gazette – 17585 Nassau Commons Blvd., Lewes, DE 19958, phone: (302) 645-7700
  • The Chronicle – 37 North Walnut Street, Milford, DE 19963, phone: (302) 422-1200

Once you have published the article for three (3) consecutive weeks, you will receive an Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper. Include this document with the rest of your filings.

Step 5 – Form Letter for Parent of Minor Child (New Castle and Sussex)

Only complete this step if you are filing in the counties of New Castle or Sussex AND if the other parent did not sign the Petition for Name Change and Affidavit. Complete the Form Letter for Parent of Minor Child in full except for the area designated for the date and time of your hearing.

Step 6 – Questionnaire (New Castle and Sussex)

This step only applies if you are filing in New Castle County or Sussex County. Download and complete the Questionnaire form that is specific to your county of residence. The available forms are as follows:

Step 7 – Serve Other Parent (Kent County)

Only complete this step if you are filing in Kent County AND if the child’s natural parents are unable to sign the Petition for Name Change and Affidavit.

Notice of your request to change the child’s name must be served upon the child’s natural parents. If the individuals live in Delaware, the Sheriff will be able to do this for a service fee of $30. This fee must be paid in cash or by money order only – personal checks will not be accepted. If they cannot be served personally in Delaware, substituted services may be requested upon submission of your filings to the Court of Common Pleas.

The following form must be served if individuals are unable to sign the Petition and Affidavit:

  • Children ages thirteen (13) and under – Notice
  • Children ages fourteen (14) to seventeen (17) – Notice

You should receive a green return receipt card after the notice has been served. Be sure to include this with your filings.

Step 8 – Serve Other Parent (New Castle and Sussex)

If you are filing in the counties of New Castle or Sussex AND if the child has another parent who is unable or unwilling to sign the Petition for Name Change and Affidavit, the non-signing parent must be notified of the request to change the child’s name.

Execute the following instructions to properly notify the other parent:

  1. Submit your filings to the Court of Common Pleas. Included with your filing package must be the Petition for Name Change, Affidavit, Affidavit of Publication, Questionnaire, the child’s birth certificate (if available), your personal ID, and your divorce decree (if applicable).
  2. Ask a clerk to schedule your court date.
  3. Enter the court date information on the Form Letter for Parent of Minor Child.
  4. Photocopy the completed Form Letter for Parent of Minor Child. This must be brought to your hearing.
  5. Mail the original Form Letter for Parent of Minor Child and a photocopy of the Petition for Name Change to the non-signing parent. You must send these documents to the individual by certified mail (return receipt requested). After the parent has been served, you will receive a green return receipt card from the post office.

The green return receipt card you receive from the post office must be taken with you to your hearing. If for any reason the letter is returned by the post office, you will instead need to bring the returned envelope to your hearing. Be sure to allow enough time for the letter to be delivered to the non-signing parent and for the receipt to be sent back.

Step 9 – File with the Court of Common Pleas

Skip this step if you completed step 8 in this tutorial. Go to the Court of Common Pleas in your county and submit your filings to a clerk. The following items must be provided to the clerk:

  • Kent County
    • Petition for Name Change
    • Affidavit
    • Affidavit of Publication
    • Green return receipt card (if applicable)
    • Driver’s license or ID card
  • New Castle County and Sussex County
    • Petition for Name Change
    • Affidavit
    • Affidavit of Publication
    • Questionnaire
    • Personal ID
    • Child’s birth certificate (if available)
    • Divorce decree (if applicable)

A processing fee of $85 will be required upon the submission of your paperwork. You may pay the fee by cash, check, or money order. This fee entitles you to a court security assessment and one (1) certified copy of the Order form (or two (2) if filing in Sussex County). The Order form is a document which will be signed by a judge at your hearing. After paying the fee, the clerk will notify you of the date and time of your court hearing.

Step 10 – Attend Hearing

Arrive at the Court of Common Pleas thirty (30) minutes prior to your hearing to ensure that you find the correct courtroom. The bailiff will be able to provide you with this information. If the child is six (6) or older, they should also be present during the hearing. A child who has reached the age of six (6) or older may be asked to respond to questions to see if they fully understand the nature of the proceedings. If the child is fourteen (14) years of age or older, they will be required to attest to their desire to change their name.

When your name is called in the courtroom, you must appear before the judge and provide him/her with any information that they might require. The judge will then issue a judgment determining whether or not the request for a change of name is valid. If approved, the judge will indicate this on an Order form. You will receive a certified copy of the Order form, or two (2) copies if filing in Sussex County. Additional copies can be purchased for $10. This document will serve as proof that the child’s name has legally changed.