Montana Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in MT

Updated August 07, 2022

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A Montana name change form is used to petition the District Court to authorize a resident to legally change their name. If a person wishes to change their name in relation to a divorce or marriage, they do not need to petition the court. Instead, they can include the name change in their marriage license application or divorce decree. For a minor (anyone who is less than eighteen (18) years old) to legally change their name, their parents or guardians must file a petition with the court on their behalf. In Montana, unless they file under sealed record, individuals are required to publish notice of their name change hearing in their local newspaper for a minimum of four (4) weeks.

Laws – § 27-31-101§ 27-31-201§ 27-31-202§ 27-31-203

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

When getting married, a person can take on the surname of their spouse, or adopt a hyphenated joint family name, without needing to petition the court. All they need to do is write their new name and given name where indicated on their marriage license application form. After the marriage has been performed, the officiator will sign the marriage license and send it to the County Recorder’s Office. Once the license has been recorded, the couple will be able to obtain certified copies of their marriage certificate to use as a proof of name change.

Name Change After Divorce

Montana residents can change their last name during the divorce process by including the name change in their divorce decree. In order to resume the use of their former name, they must inform the divorce court of their desire to change their name and have this request included in the divorce proceedings. Once the divorce is final, the subject will need to request a certified copy of their divorce decree, which will be used as their proof of name change.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In order for an adult Montana resident to legally change their name outside of marriage or divorce, they must file a petition with the District Court of the county in which they reside. If the person is changing their name for reasons that concern their safety, they can request that the court records and hearing regarding their name change remain sealed and unavailable to the public. Individuals must fulfill the following requirements to be able to file a Petition for Name Change:

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years old
  • Be a Montana resident
  • Not be filing to avoid judgments/legal actions
  • Not be filing to avoid debts/obligations
  • Not be filing to defraud another person

Step 1 – Fill-in the Petition for Name Change

Fill out the Petition for Name Change except for the sections which indicate that they will be filled out by the court. If you are changing your name for security reasons, complete the Petition for Name Change (Safety at Risk) Form instead.

Step 2 – Fill in the Order Setting Hearing

Next fill out the top portion of the Order Setting Hearing by entering your court district number, county, and name. This document will be completed by the judge when a court date is set. For cases where your safety is at risk, fill out the Order Sealing Record and Setting Hearing.

Step 3 – Fill-in the Notice of Hearing

Obtain the Notice of Hearing on Name Change and provide your court district number, county, your old name and your new name in the indicated fields. The judge will complete this form once the date of your court hearing has been scheduled. At such a time, a copy of this document will be sent to a county newspaper for publication.

Step 4 – Fill-in the Order Changing Name

Finally, on the Order Changing Name, you will need to provide your court district number and county, as well as your name change and personal information. This document will be completed by the judge once a verdict has been reached regarding your case. For a sealed records case, use the Order Changing Name (under Sealed Record) Form.

Step 5 – Gather Documents

Assemble the following completed documents into a package:

  • Petition for Name Change
  • Order Setting Hearing
  • Notice of Hearing on Name Change
  • Order Changing Name

For a sealed record name change, you will need to attach together these three (3) documents:

  • Petition for Name Change
  • Order Sealing Record and Setting Hearing
  • Order Changing Name (under Sealed Record)

Step 6 – File Documents at District Court

When you take your document package to your District Court, you should bring a current photo ID and a proof of address. Request at least one (1) certified copy of every document to be issued on-site or sent by mail.

Step 7 – Pay Filing Fee

The cost of filing at the District Court will vary depending on the county in which you reside. You should be prepared to pay $100 to $150. If you are unable to pay the fee, you can apply to have your fees waived by filling out the Informa Pauperis Application Form and submitting it with your petition. Verify your District Court’s fees before filing your petition to ensure that the filing process is as smooth as possible.

Step 8 – Publish Notice of Hearing

Once the judge has set a date for the court hearing regarding your name change, they will fill out the Notice of Hearing on Name Change and send a copy to you. You must publish this notice in a county newspaper for a minimum of four (4) weeks before the court date. After the publication has been completed, the newspaper will provide you with an affidavit verifying the publication and a copy of the published notice. You must file these with the District Court as proof of publication. If there is no newspaper in your county, you must post a copy of the notice in at least three (3) public places for four (4) consecutive weeks.

Step 9 – Attend Hearing

On the date of the hearing, you should arrive in advance of your scheduled hearing and bring the certified copies of your name change documents. After hearing any objections, the judge will consider your petition and rule for or against your name change. If your name change is approved, the judge will finish filling out your Order Changing Name, thus granting your legal name change. Take the signed court order to the Clerk of Court and obtain at least two (2) certified copies to be used as your proof of name change.

Driver’s License

Once you have changed your name, you will be able to update your driver’s license by visiting a Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Driver License Station in person. You will need to bring your current driver’s license and your proof of name change. You should be prepared to pay the required fee by cash, credit card, or check. Call the MVD office ahead of time to schedule an appointment and verify the cost for a new license. At your appointment you will have a new picture taken and be given a temporary license on-site. Within two (2) to four (4) weeks, you will be sent a new license displaying your new name.

Voter Registration

Once your name has been changed, you will need to update your voter registration to reflect this. In order to change your voter information, you will need to fill out the Montana Voter Registration Form, selecting “Name Change” on line one (1), writing your new name, and indicating your previous name in the field marked “Previous Registration Name.” Once you have filled the form out, mail or hand-deliver it to your county elections office. A list of county elections offices and their associated addresses can also be found on the second page of the Voter Registration Form.

Minor (Child) Name Change

To change the name of a resident under the age of eighteen (18) in Montana, the minor’s parents or legal guardians must file a Petition for Name Change.  This petition has to be filed in the District Court of the county in which the minor is a resident.

Step 1 – Fill-in Petition for Name Change

Completely fill out the Petition for Name Change (Child), except for the “Cause Number” and “Department Number” fields, which the judge or Clerk of Court will fill out. On this form you will have to provide the child’s current name and new name, and you will need to describe the reasons for the name change.

Step 2 – Fill-in Consent to Minor Child’s Name Change Form

In order to demonstrate that all of the child’s parents/legal guardians have provided their consent for the name change, each one must fill out and sign the Consent to Minor Child’s Name Change Form. This form must be signed in front of a notary public and notarized. If there are any parties who have not given their consent, a notice of hearing must be published in a local newspaper.

Step 3 – Fill-in Order Setting Hearing Form

Next, fill out as much of the Order Setting Hearing for Minor Form as you can. The judge will fill out the rest of the document when a hearing date is set for your child’s name change.

Step 4 – Fill-in Notice of Hearing

If any of the child’s parents or legal guardians have not given consent for the name change, you must also provide your county, District Court number, your child’s current name, and your child’s new name on the Notice of Hearing on Name Change of Minor Child.

Step 5 – Fill-in Order Changing Name for Child

You will also need to prepare the Order Changing Name for Child by providing some of the child’s personal information and describing the child’s name change and the reasons for the change in the indicated fields.

Step 6 – Gather Documents

You will need to attach all of the documents listed below to be filed with your District Court.

  • Petition for Name Change (Child)
  • Consent to Minor Child’s Name Change
  • Order Setting Hearing (For Minor)
  • Notice of Hearing on Name Change of Minor Child
  • Order Changing Name (Child)

Make copies of these documents for your personal records and bring a self-addressed postage paid envelope.

Step 7 – File Documents at District Court

Before you go to your local District Court to file the petition, call the Clerk of Court’s office to schedule an appointment and verify what the cost will be. At the appointment, you will give the Clerk of Court your document package and request certified copies of all the documents. Give the Clerk the self-addressed envelope.

Step 8 – Pay Filing Fee

You will be charged a number of fees for the cost of filing the petition and for any certified copies that you request. Be prepared to pay these fees on-site using one of your District Court’s accepted payment methods. If you feel that you are unable to pay these fees, fill out the Informa Pauperis Application Form and file it alongside your petition. This application, if accepted, allows you to have your petition heard without having to pay any of the customary fees.

Step 9 – Publish Notice

If both parents/legal guardians have given their written consent to the name change, you do not need to publish notice. However, if a parent/guardian hasn’t given their consent, you will be required to publish the Notice for Hearing once it has been signed. Publication must occur for a minimum of four (4) consecutive weeks proceeding the date of hearing. You will be responsible for paying any publication fees. Upon completion of published notice, the newspaper will provide the court with a proof of publication and affidavit verifying that publication has occurred.

Step 10 – Attend Hearing

Both you and your child should attend the court date regarding the minor’s name change. During the hearing, you and your child may be asked some questions regarding the name change. The judge will also hear any objections that the general public may have. If the judge approves the name change, they will sign the Order Changing Name, which you will then bring to the Clerk of Court to have certified copies made. These certified copies of the court order are your child’s proof of name change.