Maryland Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in MD

Updated August 07, 2022

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A Maryland name change form can be submitted to the circuit court to request a legal name change. For an individual adopting their spouse’s last name after getting married, or for those reverting back to their maiden name following a divorce, proof of their new marital status can be used to change their name. State law determines that an individual may change their name for any reason that is not illegal or fraudulent. In order for a resident to formally change their name, they must submit a petition to their Clerk of Court and, if accepted, publish their name change in a local newspaper. Under common law, an individual is permitted to informally change their name by adopting a different name and using it consistently in their daily life. However, a common-law name change will still require the individual to use some form of written declaration if they wish to change the name registered on any accounts, IDs, and licenses that they have in their previous name.

Laws – §15-901§4-214(c)2

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Before getting married in Maryland, a couple must apply for a marriage license from the circuit court of the county in which they reside. Once a marriage has taken place, the officiant will sign the marriage license, at which point a spouse may legally begin to use their partner’s last name. The individual will need to obtain a certified copy of their marriage license and use this as a proof of marriage in order to update their various registrations and accounts. Your social assurance number must be updated in advance of any other forms of identification.

Name Change After Divorce

During a divorce, if one (1) or both of the spouses wishes to return to their previous name, the judge will include this name change in the divorce decree. Once a divorce has been finalized, the divorce decree acts as a proof of the divorce. A person reverting to their previous name will need to use a certified copy of this document in order to update the name on their ID, registration, and bank accounts. Maryland residents cannot use a divorce to change their name to anything other than the name they were using prior to their marriage.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In order for an adult to file a petition for name change with their County Court, they must meet the following requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of the county in which they are filing
  • Not be filing for fraudulent purposes
  • Not be filing in connection to an adoption or divorce
  • Not be infringing upon another person’s rights

Residents must fill out and submit both the Petition for Name Change and the Name Change Notice Form.

Step 1 – Fill-in Petition for Name Change

On the Petition for Name Change (DR 60), the individual filing the petition must provide all of their current information, their reason for requesting a name change, other name(s) that they are known by, and their reason for changing their name. This form is filled out in order to enact the petitioner’s formal request for a name change.

Step 2 – Fill-in Name Change Notice Form

Next, on the Name Change Notice Form (DR 61), the individual will need to indicate both their current name and the requested name. They must also completely fill out the top paragraph of the document. The Clerk of Court will fill out the rest of the form by providing the required court information, the objection deadline date, and their signature. The purpose of this form is to be forwarded to a newspaper to be published as public notice.

Step 3 – Contact Local Circuit Court

Before filing their request, the subject should contact their local city/county circuit court in order to inform themselves of the practices are regarding name changes in their jurisdiction. The procedure and fees for filing a name change sometimes differ from county to county and so, for this reason, it would be pertinent to inform oneself before filing a petition.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

When presenting themselves at the circuit court, the individual will need to bring the following documents:

  • Petition for Name Change
  • Name Change Notice Form
  • Copy of birth certificate

Step 5 – File Documents with the Circuit Court

Once gathered, these documents must be presented to the Clerk of Court at the subject’s city or county court. The clerk will certify both documents and sign the Name Change Notice Form. At least four (4) certified copies of these documents should be obtained ($5 per copy, plus $0.50 per extra page).

Step 6 – Pay Filing Fee

The fee for filing a name change in Maryland is $165 (see Fee Schedule) or, if the petitioner is represented by an attorney, $185. However, it is possible that the fee and accepted method(s) of payment may still differ from one county to another, so the subject should inform themselves about what the cost and method of payment are before filing a petition with their circuit court. If they have a low income and are incapable of paying the fee, the subject can fill out and submit the Request for Waiver of Prepayment of Filing Fee (DR 32). This form requests that the filing fee for name change be reduced or waived altogether.

Step 7 – Publication of Name Change

When an adult resident changes their name, they are required to publish an announcement of their name change in a local newspaper fifteen (15) days before the objection deadline for their name change. If the petitioner’s safety is endangered, the judge has the ability to waive this requirement. After publication, if a member of the public objects to the name change, they can file a formal objection with the court. If someone files an objection, the person who is changing their name will have to formally respond to the objection within fifteen (15) days.

Step 8 – Pay Publication Fee

Depending on the subject’s jurisdiction, the arrangement for publishing their name change will either be arranged by them or by the Clerk of Court. In either case, the person will be sent an invoice from the newspaper for the cost of publication, which can be up to $200. Once publication has been completed, they are required by §15-901 (e) to fill out and submit the Certificate of Publication (DR-75) to the court as a written proof that the name change has been published.

Step 9 – Clerk Sends Petition to Judge 

After receiving notice from the newspaper that the name change has been published, the Clerk of Court will send the subject’s Petition for Name Change to the assigned judge.

Step 10 – Judge Makes Decision

Once the objection date has been reached and, upon reviewing the Petition for Name Change, the judge approves the petition with no formal objections, they will sign and certify an Order for Name Change. This court order declares the legal name change official. The subject should request at least four (4) certified copies of the order and use these copies to update their Social Security information, state-issued ID, bank accounts, etc.

Driver’s License

Maryland residents are required to inform the Mortal Vehicles Association (MVA) of a name change within thirty (30) days of the event’s occurrence. Before updating the name on their driver’s license/photo ID, an individual must update their information at a Social Security Office. Once this has been accomplished, the individual will present a certified copy of their Order for Name Change, Marriage License, or Divorce Decree at a driver’s license office. They will also be required to present their current driver’s license or State-issued photo ID, their passport or other proof of citizenship, as well as a proof of address. The fee for this procedure is $40, and if conducted in person, the new license will be issued on site.

Voter Registration

After changing their name, Maryland residents can update their voter information online by accessing the Maryland voter registration webpage and indicating their name change in the “Previous Registration Information” section. They will need to supply their current name, date of birth, and driver’s license or SSN in order to complete online registration. Alternatively, residents can fill out a Voter Registration Form, indicating that it is for a change of name, and submit it to their local Board of Elections office.

Minor (Child) Name Change

For residents who are less than eighteen (18) years of age, a petition for name change must be filed by their legal parent, guardian, or custodian. Furthermore, written consent must be obtained from all legal parents and guardians. If consent is not obtained, a written legal notice must be given to the interested parties. As per §4-214(c)2, the name of a minor of less than one (1) year old can be legally changed without a court order. For a name change in connection with an adoption, the name change should be indicated in the Petition for Adoption.

Step 1 – Fill-in Petition for Name Change

First, the Petition for Change of Name for Minor (DR 62) must be completely filled out by one (1) or both parent(s)/legal guardian(s).

Step 2 – Fill-in Consent Form(s)

All parents and legal guardians must complete and sign the Consent to Change of Name Form (for legal parent/guardian/custodian use DR 63; for parent originally listed on the minor’s birth certificate use DR 64). If a parent or guardian does not offer their consent, they must be legally served notice of the minor’s name change. If a legal guardian is deceased, a death certificate should be provided.

Step 3 – Fill-in Order for Name Change

Fill out the Order for Change of Name of a Minor (Form CC/JO-32), leaving the fields for the judge’s signature and signing date blank.

Step 4 – Fill-in Notice of Name Change

The petitioner must also fill out the top of the page and the first paragraph of the Notice of Name Change of Minor (DR 65) document. The second paragraph and Clerk of Court signature field should be left blank.

Step 5 – Gather Documents

Once all of the documents have been completed, they must be gathered together along with certain supporting documents. A list of all required documents is listed below. The petitioner should keep a copy of these documents for themselves and request certified copies as they become available.

  • Petition for Change of Name for Minor
  • Consent to Change of Name Form
  • Order for Change of Name of a Minor
  • Notice of Name Change of Minor
  • Copy of minor’s birth certificate

Step 6 – File Documents with the Circuit Court

These documents must be taken to and filed with the circuit court of the county or city in which the minor is a resident. Once the clerk has certified the submitted documents, the petitioner should request several certified copies.

Step 7 – Pay Filing Fee

If the person petitioning for the minor’s name change is representing themselves, they will have to pay a $165 fee. For individuals represented by an attorney, the cost is $185. There is also a small fee of $5 per certified copy of each document that the petitioner requests (plus $0.50 for each additional page). Low income families/minors can request that the filing fee be nullified or reduced by filling out a Request for Waiver of Prepayment of Filing Fee (DR 32).

Step 8 – Publication of Name Change

Unless the judge sees significant justification to avoid publication, the minor’s name change must be published in a newspaper that has local distribution a minimum of fifteen (15) days before the objection deadline. Depending on the petitioner’s jurisdiction, they may or may not be required to make their own arrangements for the publication of this announcement.

Step 9 – Pay Publication Fee

The petitioner is always required to pay the publication fee. After the announcement has been published, as per §15-901 (e), the petitioner should fill out and submit a Certificate of Publication (DR-75) to the court.

Step 10 – Clerk Sends Petition to Judge 

Once the clerk has received a proof of publication, they will send the Petition for Change of Name to the judge to have a verdict determined.

Step 11 – Attend Hearing

If there are any objections to the name change, a hearing will likely be arranged and the petitioner must respond to the objection within fifteen (15) days.

Step 12 – Judge Makes Decision

If there are no objections to the name change and if the judge sees no reason to refuse the petition, the name change will be approved and the judge will sign the Order for Name Change. The petitioner should request several certified copies of this document to use as a proof of name change in order to update the child’s personal information.