Illinois Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in IL

The Illinois name change forms provide users with the ability to petition the circuit court for a legal name change. Nearly all filing circumstances will require the petitioner to create an online account and file their paperwork electronically (e-file) using one (1) of the services providers designated by the court. However, specific situations may permit the individual to file in person or by mail. Anyone wishing to change their name because of marriage or divorce needn’t file the standard name change forms. They may instead use a certified copy of their name change document (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree) as evidence of the change.

Laws § 5/21-101 – 5/21-104

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Your marriage license application will contain a space in which you can specify a new last name. Enter the name in the space and file the application with the circuit court. After the license is received and the ceremony has taken place, the individual who officiated the ceremony will deliver the license to the clerk’s office. Next, request a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the Division of Vital Records by submitting the following to the Division:

The certified copy of your marriage certificate can be used as proof that your name has changed.

Name Change After Divorce

Illinois law permits you to revert to your former name as a result of divorce. The process can be accomplished by making a request on your divorce petition before filing it with the circuit court. After your divorce proceedings have been finalized, request a certified copy of your record by submitting the following items to the circuit court:

Once you have received the certified copy of your record, use it as proof of your name change when updating your personal accounts, such as your social security card and birth certificate.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

If you are above the age of eighteen (18) and have lived in Illinois for at least six (6) months, you can request a name change by filing the Adult Name Change forms with the circuit court in your county. You may not change your name if you have been convicted of a felony specified within 735 ILCS 5/21-101(b).

Step 1 – Request for Name Change

A Request for Name Change provides the circuit court with the information necessary to determine whether or not your name should be changed. Fill out the form with the requisite filing information and provide your signature. This form must also be signed by a witness.

Step 2 – Publication Notice

The Publication Notice of Court Date for Request for Name Change is used to notify the general public of your petition for a name change. It describes the proposed new name as well as the date, time, and location of your hearing. Fill out the form by entering the applicable information. Your hearing details will be given to you when you file with the court.

Step 3 – Order for Name Change

When your Request for Name Change is reviewed in court, a judge will use an Order for Name Change form to record the approval or denial of your request. The majority of the document will be completed by a judge during your hearing. However, you can prepare the form by specifying the county and by entering your current name as well as the name you would like to use.

Step 4 – Prepare Filing Fee

There are three (3) fees that you’ll need pay; a court filing fee, a publication fee, and a certified copy fee. Fees vary between counties. Therefore, you should contact the circuit court in your county to determine the current rates. If you are unable to pay the court fee or certified copy fee, an exemption can be requested by filing the following documents:

Step 5 – Make Copies

Make several photocopies of your completed paperwork. You should have a set of forms copied for your personal records as well as a set of copies to be used in the event that the original documents become damaged or misplaced.

Step 6 – File your Forms

Your completed documents must be filed electronically (e-filed) with the circuit court in your county. In order to e-file, create an account with one (1) of the approved e-filing service providers. There may be a separate fee for this service. If you are unable to access a computer, visit the circuit court and file using the public computers they have available. A clerk can help you file your printed forms, or they can file forms that have been saved to a flash drive.

If you have a legitimate reason for not being able to e-file, a request to file by mail or in person can be made by submitting the Certificate of Exemption from E-Filing.

Step 7 – Schedule Hearing

Contact a circuit clerk to schedule a date and time for your hearing. The date chosen must be at least eight (8) weeks after you file your paperwork. Enter your hearing information on a copy of the Publication Notice of Court Date for Request for Name Change.

Step 8 – Publish Notice

A notice of your request will need to be published in a newspaper circulating in your county. Contact a local newspaper and arrange to have your Publication Notice published one (1) time each week for three (3) successive weeks. The first article must be published no less than six (6) weeks prior to your court hearing. Certain newspapers may charge a fee for publication. If you cannot pay the publication fee, you can ask for the court to cover the cost by filing a Motion (review instructions for more information).

Once the article has been published for three (3) successive weeks, contact the newspaper to request a Certificate of Publication. The newspaper will either send the Certificate to you by mail, send it directly to the clerk, or they will ask you collect the Certificate in person. If you personally receive the Certificate, make a copy and file the original with a circuit clerk prior to your hearing. If the Certificate is sent directly to a clerk, ask the newspaper to send you a copy and request that they deliver the original to the circuit court prior to your hearing.

Step 9 – Request Stamped Copies

Ask a circuit clerk to make you stamped copies of all forms except the Order for Name Change. There may be a charge for this service. Contact the circuit court in advance for information on fees.

Step 10 – Attend Court Hearing

Arrive at the courthouse forty-five (45) minutes prior to your hearing. Ensure that you bring the following documents:

  • Stamped Copies
    • Request for Name Change
    • Publication Notice of Court Date for Request for Name Change
    • Certificate of Publication
  • Order for Name Change
  • Other related forms (e.g., sentence discharge papers, statement relating to criminal offenses)
  • Photo identification

Ask the circuit clerk to direct you to the proper courtroom. Go to the courtroom and wait for a court assistant to call for your name and case number. During your hearing, the judge may ask you to respond to questions under oath. Approval or denial of your request will be recorded in the Order for Name Change document. The judge will sign the Order form and return it to you. This document will need to be filed with the circuit clerk.

If your request is granted by the judge, ask the circuit clerk to make you certified copies of the Order form. These will be needed when updating your social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc. A fee may be required for each certified copy.

Driver’s License

Your social security information will need to be updated before a change to your driver’s license can be made. Therefore, you must submit Form SS-5 to the Social Security Administration (SSA) by mail or in person. Along with the form, include the following:

  • Name change document
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of citizenship

Review the list of accepted documents to see what items can be used. After changing your social security information, you must visit a Secretary of State office within ten (10) days of changing your name. You must provide the Secretary of State with the following:

  • Current driver’s license
  • Name change document (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree)
  • Payment for the $5 fee

Your new driver’s license will be mailed to you after the items above has been received by the Secretary of State.

 Voter Registration

The name recorded on your current voter registration can be updated through the submission of a Voter Registration Form. Enter your new name in box (1) and specify your former name in box (6). Fill out the remaining spaces of the form and send it to a Board of Elections office. Alternatively, you can update your name by registering online.

Minor (Child) Name Change

Changing the name of a minor (child) in Illinois can be accomplished by filing the Minor Name Change forms with the circuit court in your county of residence. In order to be eligible to file, you must be over the age of eighteen (18) and have lived in Illinois for no less than six (6) months. Furthermore, your relationship with the child must be one (1) of the following:

  • Natural parent with custody of the child
  • Legal guardian with custody of the child
  • The child has lived with you for at least three (3) years and is recognized as your adopted child

You may not be eligible to file if you have been convicted of a felony under 735 ILCS 5/21-101(b).

Step 1 – Request for Name Change

Begin by filling out the Request for Name Change form. This document will contain your personal information as well as the current and proposed names of up to four (4) children. A witness will be required to review the Request form, provide their contact details, and sign the document.

If there are more than four (4) children, complete the Request for Name Change – Additional Children form and attach it to the initial application.

Step 2 – Child Information

One (1) Request for Name Change – Child Information document will need to be completed for each child. This form provides the court with the information necessary to determine whether or not the child’s name can be changed. Do not sign the form until you are in the presence of a notary public.

If there is another acting parent who does not have custody of the child, you must include a Request for Name Change – Additional Parent form. This document must also be signed before a notary public.

Step 3 – Order For Name Change

The Order for Name Change form is used by a judge to record the approval or denial of your request for a minor name change. Prepare the form by filling in the applicable information. All remaining fields of the form will be completed by a judge during your court hearing. There should be one (1) form completed for each child.

Step 4 – Notarize Documents

Take the following documents to a notary public to be signed in their presence:

  • Request for Name Change – Child Information
  • Request for Name Change – Additional Parent (if applicable)

A notary public can often be found at a county courthouse, local bank, and town or city hall. The notary may require a small service fee for notarization.

Step 5 – Prepare for Filing

Contact a circuit clerk at the courthouse in your county to determine the filing fees as well as the accepted forms of payment. Should you be unable to pay for the filing fees, an exemption can be requested by submitting the following documents:

Most filing circumstances require you to file your paperwork electronically using an e-filing service. Ask the circuit clerk to tell you what methods of filing are accepted in your county. If you are required to file electronically, you will need to create an account with one of the service providers approved by the State.

Note: If e-filing is required, you may still be able to file by mail or in person by submitting a Certificate of Exemption from E-Filing form.

Step 6 – Make Copies

Photocopy each of the completed forms. Make a set of photocopies for each parent or guardian without physical custody of the child. You should also make a set of photocopies for yourself.

Step 7 – File with the Circuit Court

File your paperwork with the circuit court using the filing method required in your county. You will most likely need to e-file your paperwork, though there is the possibility of filing by mail or in person (see step 5).

E-Filing Instructions:

  1. Create an account with a State approved service provider.
  2. Follow the instructions on the e-filing website and submit your paperwork electronically.
  3. Pay the filing fee or submit the Application for Waiver of Court Fees + Order for Waiver of Court Fees.

In Person Filing Instructions:

  1. Visit the courthouse in your county.
  2. Submit your paperwork + a set of copies to be stamped (you may be permitted to file forms that have been stored on a flash drive).
  3. Pay the filing fee or submit the Application for Waiver of Court Fees + Order for Waiver of Court Fees.

By Mail Filing Instructions:

  1. Gather your original paperwork + a set of photocopies to be stamped.
  2. Fill out a Letter to the Circuit Clerk and attach it to your filings.
  3. Attach the filing fees or the Application for Waiver of Court Fees + Order for Waiver of Court Fees.
  4. Place all items in a self-addressed and stamped envelope.
  5. Mail your filings to the circuit court in your county.

Certain counties require the Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Order for Waiver of Court Fees to be filed in person regardless of whether or not e-filing is required. Contact the circuit court ahead of time to see if this is required in your county.

Step 8 – Request Court Hearing

After filing your paperwork, ask a circuit clerk to schedule your court hearing. The clerk will tell you the date, time, and location of your hearing. Enter the hearing information on one (1) of the following documents:

Step 9 – Notify Other Parents

You are required to notify the other parents of the name change unless their parental rights have been terminated. The method of notification differs depending on whether or not you know where the individual lives.

If you know where the individual lives, you must serve them with a copy of the following forms:

  • Request for Name Change
  • Request for Name Change – Child Information
  • Notice of Court Date Request for Name Change

You can serve the individual by certified mail with a return receipt (green card) requested, or you can use service of process by the sheriff.

Certified Mail Service Instructions:

  1. Mail the forms to the individual with a return receipt (green card) requested.
  2. Photocopy the green card once received in the mail.
  3. File the original green card with a circuit clerk.
  4. Have a circuit clerk stamp the photocopied green card.

In the event that post office is unable to deliver the forms to the individual and you are aware of their current address, you must serve them using service of process by the sheriff.

Service of Process by Sheriff Instructions

In Person:

  1. Take the forms to the sheriff’s office located in the individual’s county of residence.
  2. Provide payment for the service fee or submit a copy of the court approved Order for Waiver of Court Fees (contact sheriff’s department for rates).

By Mail:

  1. Fill out a Letter to the Sheriff and attach it to your filings.
  2. Attach the filing fee or a copy of the court approved Order for Waiver of Court Fees (contact sheriff’s department for current prices).
  3. Place all items in a self-addressed and stamped envelope.
  4. Send your forms by mail to the sheriff’s office located in the individual’s county of residence.

Contact the sheriff’s department to confirm that they have served the individual. Afterwards, the department will issue an Affidavit of Service and either send it to you or the circuit court by mail.

  • If the department sends the Affidavit to the circuit court, contact the court to ensure that the Affidavit has been received and ask them for a photocopy.
  • If the Affidavit was sent to you directly, make yourself a copy and submit both the original and the photocopy to the circuit court. Ask a circuit clerk to stamp the copy and return it to you.

If you do not know where the individual lives, you are required to publish the Publication Notice of Court Date for Request for Name Change in a local newspaper.

Publication Instructions:

  1. Publish the article one (1) time a week for three (3) weeks consecutively. The first publication must take place no less than six (6) weeks prior to your court hearing.
  2. The publication fee demanded by the newspaper will not be covered by an Order for Waiver of Court Fees. If you cannot afford the cost of publication, you can file a Motion to ask the court to cover the cost (see instructions).
  3. After the article has been published, ask the newspaper to issue a Certification of Publication.
  4. Make a copy of the Certificate of Publication and file the original with the circuit court unless it is sent directly to the courthouse. If it is sent to the courthouse, contact a circuit clerk and request a copy of the form.

Step 10 – Prepare for Court Hearing

Have your current paperwork prepared and ready for submission. You will want to have the original documents of any form not yet filed as well as photocopies of each. Furthermore, the following items should also be gathered and made ready for submission:

  • Photo identification
  • Order for Name Change (one (1) for each child)
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Copies of all previously filed forms
  • Any other documents that the court should see

Step 11 – Attend Court Hearing

Visit the courthouse to attend your hearing. The child may be required to attend the hearing as well. Ask the circuit court in advance to see if this is necessary. Be sure to arrive early in order to allow yourself enough time to be directed to the proper courtroom.

Wait for your name and case number to be called. Appear before the judge and answer any questions that they might have. Explain your case and provide any necessary paperwork. The judge will determine whether or not the child’s name shall be changed.

Approval or denial of the request will be recorded in the Order for Name Change form. File the Order form with a clerk and, if the request is approved, ask to have a certified copy made (a fee may be required). There should be enough certified copies to allow you to provide one (1) to the Social Security Administration, DMV, your bank, etc.