» » North Carolina Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in NC

North Carolina Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in NC

There are several North Carolina name change forms that residents will need to fill out and file in order to legally change their name. However, when getting married or divorced, individuals only need a copy of their marriage certificate or divorce decree to change their surname. For any other name change, individuals will need to post a Notice of Intent to File Name Change and file a petition, several notarized affidavits, and a criminal background check with their county County Clerk’s Office. In this state, the process for changing the name of a minor of less than sixteen (16) years of age is different from a minor who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years old. Younger minors must have a parent petition for their name change, whereas minors who are at least sixteen (16) years old can submit a petition for themselves. Procedures for changing your name can be different depending on the county in which you reside, so you should always check with your county court to verify the required forms and fees.

Laws – § 101-2 to 101-8

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

In North Carolina, all that you need to change your surname when getting married, all that is required of you in order to change your surname is a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You have the option of either taking your spouse’s name or creating a hyphenated name. Furthermore, you are permitted to have a different name on your identification than the one that you use socially or at the workplace. Your marriage certificate can be picked up within up to ten (10) days of your marriage being recorded. You will need to request a certified copy of your certificate from the Register of Deeds for your county (expect to pay a $10 fee for each copy). By using this document, you will be able to change the name on your social security card, driver’s license, bank accounts, and passport.

Name Change After Divorce

To revert to your maiden name during a divorce, all you need to do is request the name change in your divorce complaint (or answer to a complaint) and the change will be included on your divorce decree. Once your divorce is final, you may obtain certified copies of your divorce decree from the office of your District Court to update your identification, registrations, passport, etc. (if you live in Eastern District of North Carolina click here for a list of Clerk’s Offices). Even in the event that you did not include a name change in your divorce decree, you can still resume the use of a previous surname without any further court process. To resume using a previous surname, go to your local Clerk’s Office with a copy of your divorce decree and request to have your maiden name or previously married name restored. You will be charged for this service. Using a copy of your divorce decree and the document which the Clerk gives to you, you will be able to restore your maiden name.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In North Carolina, any adult person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age can petition the court to allow their name to be changed. However, residents are only permitted to change their name one (1) time. Furthermore, they cannot change their name as a registered sex offender or if they are attempting to escape debts or a criminal record. Although the approval process in North Carolina is relatively quick, residents must undergo both a federal and state criminal background check before they can file a Petition for Name Change with their county court.

Step 1 – Fingerprinting at Sheriff’s Office

To receive your mandatory criminal history check, you will need to go to your local Sheriff’s Department and have your fingerprints taken. Be prepared to pay a fee of around $10 by money order or cash. A staff member will give you a fingerprint card to complete. Upon completion, you will be given your original fingerprint card, which you will submit for your FBI criminal record check.

Step 2 – North Carolina Criminal Background Check

For the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) background check, complete the Criminal History Request Form and attach it to a copy of your driver’s license and birth certificate. Enclose these documents, along with a certified check or money order in the amount of $14 (payable to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation), and mail it to the address below.

North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Information and Identification Section
Attention: Application Unit – Right to Review
3320 Garner Road, P.O. Box 29500
Raleigh, NC 27626-0500

Step 3 – FBI Criminal Background Check

Your federal criminal record check can be performed either online or by mail. To request your FBI criminal background check by mail, first you will need to fill out the Applicant Information Form. Once you have filled out this document, enclose it in an envelope with a Credit Card Payment Form, certified check, or money order for $18 (payable to the Treasury of the United States).

FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

After receiving your request, depending on whether or not you have a criminal history, the FBI will either send you a notice stating that no prior arrests were found or they will deliver an Identity History Summary, which details your arrests and criminal record.

Step 4 – Notice of Intent to File Name Change

The Notice of Intent to File Name Change is one of the forms that you must fill out in order to file a name change petition. Once you have filled it out, you will need to submit it to your county courthouse to be posted on a bulletin for ten (10) consecutive business days. If you have a legitimate concern for your safety in regards to making your name change public, you may be exempted from this requirement.

Step 5 – Petition for Name Change

Next, fill out the Petition for Name Change. Your petition is the legal document that formally requests that the court approve your name change and indicates your reason(s) for making the change. This form requires information from your original birth certificate.

Step 6 – Affidavit of Character

When you submit your petition, you will need a signed and notarized Affidavit of Character from two (2) adults who are residents of your county and are not members of your family. Both individuals must vouch for your good character in writing and sign the document in the presence of a notary. Although most counties apply this requirement, it is not written into law and therefore, your county may not mandate the submission of these forms.

Step 7 – Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations

Fill out the top section of the Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations, leaving the date and signature fields blank (note that you will need to print out the document in order to circle certain answers). The bottom portion of the affidavit should be filled out in front of a notary who must provide their signature and notary seal. This document attests that you are a resident of the county in which you are filing and that you have no outstanding tax or child support payments.

Step 8 – Notary Verification

Once completed, you will need to get your Petition for Name Change and Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations verified by a notary public. Notary publics can be found at most banks during standard business hours, often for a small fee. Bring all of your name change documents and the Notary Verification form, unfilled. Meet the notary in person and identify yourself to them before showing them your completed forms. At this juncture, sign the Notary Verification form (and affidavit) where indicated and give the form to the notary, who will then sign, date, and stamp the document, thus providing their verification.

Step 9 – File Petition for Name Change

Bring all of the documents listed below as a package and file them at the Clerk of Court’s office in your county (for a list of Clerk’s Offices in the Eastern District of North Carolina click here).

  • SBI Criminal Background Check
  • FBI Criminal Background Check
  • Verified Petition for Name Change
  • Two (2) verified Affidavits of Character
  • Verified Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligation
  • Birth certificate (Certified Copy)
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, government check, etc.)
  • Filing fee in cash or money order
  • Self-addressed, postage paid envelope (to have your court order mailed to you)

Step 10 – Pay the Filing Fee

Filing fees are not uniform across all counties, so you will need to verify the cost of your name change in order to prepare the proper amount in cash, or as a certified check or money order.

Step 11 – Receive Order and Certificate of Name Change/Attend Possible Hearing

After the filing of your petition, as long as there is no objection to your name change, the Clerk will approve your petition and send you a court order and Certificate of Name Change. You will be able to use this certificate to update your passport, driver’s license, social security, and other places where you are registered under your prior name. In some instances, you may be required to attend a hearing, in which case you will be given notice of when it will take place. Be sure to bring all of your name change documents to your hearing. The Clerk has the right to refuse your request, even if your petition was filed correctly.

Driver’s License

In North Carolina, you must apply for a new driver’s license within sixty (60) days of having your name changed. Before this can be done, your identity with the Social Security Agency must already be updated. To get a new driver’s license, you will need to present yourself at a DMV office with a copy of your proof of name change, your current driver’s license, and cash or a money order to pay the fee ($13 at the time of this writing). For your proof of name change, you will need a certified copy of the document which authorizes your new name; either a divorce decree, marriage license, or court order. Once you have submitted the relevant documents and paid the required fee, you will be issued a temporary license and sent your new one by mail once it has been prepared. You may be required to take a new photograph for your license at the DMV office.

Voter Registration

After your name has been changed, you will need to update your voter registration in order to participate in any upcoming elections. In addition to needing a photo ID and SSN with matching identities, your voter registration must indicate your new name. You can accomplish this by filling out a Voter Registration Form (indicating your previously registered name in section seven (7)) and submitting it to your local elections office or to the North Carolina State Board of Elections Office (address below).

NC State Board of Elections Office
P.O. Box 27255
Raleigh, NC 27611-7255

Minor (Child) Name Change

To change the name of a minor who is less than sixteen (16) years of age in North Carolina, one or both of the child’s parents must submit a petition to their county court. If only one parent signs the petition, they will need to obtain written consent from the other biological parent and file it with their petition. For a request to be approved, the reasons for making the name change must be clear, such as adoption or for a stepchild. A minor who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years old may petition for themselves, but they still need to obtain parental consent. Furthermore, they will need to obtain two (2) affidavits from non-family members that can vouch for their good character. Minors who are sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years old may also be asked to submit to a criminal record check.

Step 1 – Notice for Name Change of Minor

Before filing your child’s name change request, you will need to post a notice of your intent to change the minor’s name in your county courthouse. Fill out the Notice for Name Change of Minor and give it to your local courthouse’s office for them to timestamp and post on their bulletin board. Once the notice has been posted for ten (10) consecutive business days, you can file your petition to change the name of your child with the Clerk’s Office.

Step 2 – Petition for Name Change of Minor

The Petition for Name Change of Minor is the document with which you will make the formal request a name change for your child. In this document you will describe your relationship to the child and your reasons for changing their name. If the minor’s other parent is participating in this request, they must also provide their signature

Step 3 – Obtain Consent

In North Carolina, as long as both parents are alive, they must both give their consent in order for a minor’s name to be changed. If the other parent has been delinquent in paying child support services, or can otherwise be proved to have abandoned the child, the petition may proceed without their consent. Furthermore, if there is a concern for your or your child’s safety, this requirement may be waived. However, the Clerk of Court may contact the other parent with a mailed notice in cases where there is an abandonment claim. To obtain the other parent’s written consent, have them fill out the Affidavit of Parental Consent and have it notarized.

Step 4 – Affidavit of Character for Minor Child Name Change

If the minor is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years old, they will need to have two (2) non-family members fill out and notarize the Affidavit of Character for Minor Child Name Change. In this document, they must attest to the good character of the minor.

Step 5 – Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations (Minor)

Fill out the Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations up until the date and signature fields, which must be filled out with a notary. This document will attest to whether or not you have any unpaid taxes or child support payments. If both parents are petitioning, both need to complete and notarize this document.

Step 6 – Notary Verification

In addition to having the Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations notarized, you will also need to fill out the Notary Verification form (which must be signed and dated in front of a notary). If the other parent signed the petition, they will also need to complete this verification form. Have the documents signed in the presence of a notary public. The notary will then provide their notary seal and signature, at which point you will have obtained the necessary notary verification.

Step 7 – Application for a Copy of a North Carolina Birth Certificate

If the minor was born in North Carolina, you need to fill out the Application for a Copy of a North Carolina Birth Certificate in order to change their official name. This form will be filed along with the petition and other name change documents.

Step 8 – File Petition for Name Change

Compile all of the documents listed below into a package and file them at your county court Clerk’s Office (click here for a list of Clerk’s Offices in the Eastern District of North Carolina).

  • Notice for Name Change of Minor (from court bulletin)
  • Petition for Name Change of Minor
  • Notary Verification
  • Affidavit of Parental Consent
  • Two (2) Verified Affidavits of Character (if minor is sixteen (16) years of age or older)
  • Verified Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, government check, etc.)
  • Filing fee in cash or money order
  • Self-addressed, postage-paid envelope (to have the court order mailed to you)

The procedure and fees for filing a name change petition for a minor may differ from one county to another, so it is important to verify that you do not require any additional or alternative forms to file your request.

Step 9 – Pay the Filing Fee

When you file your petition, you will be asked to pay fees for filing, for receiving a new birth certificate and for any certified copies that you may need. Payments are usually only accepted as a certified check, money order, or cash.

Step 10 – Receive Order and Certificate of Name Change/Attend Possible Hearing

You may be required to attend a hearing regarding your child’s name change. If so, you should bring copies of all your documents (you may also need to obtain a court order and certificate from the Clerk’s Office) and arrive on time. You will be called upon to explain why the child’s name is being changed. If the petition is approved, you will be given a signed court order and certificate authorizing your child’s name change. If you requested a new birth certificate, you will be issued this as well. For most cases, as long as there is no objection from a non-consenting parent and all your paperwork is properly filed, a hearing won’t be required, and you will simply be issued the court order and Certificate of Name Change.


ABOUT SSL CERTIFICATES