North Dakota Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in ND

Updated June 02, 2022

A North Dakota name change form can be used by an individual wishing to change their name in North Dakota. They will also need documents to use as proof of name change once the change has been approved. The most common reason for individuals to change their name is in relation to a marriage or divorce; the subject will either adopt their spouse’s name or restore their original family name. In these instances, the individual must include their name change in their application for a marriage license or divorce petition. Outside of marriage or divorce, an adult who is at least eighteen (18) years old will be required to file a petition with their District Court. If the person having their name changed is less than eighteen (18) years old, their parent or legal guardian will need to make the request on their behalf. Once a name change is approved, the legal instrument which authorizes the name change will be the subject’s proof of name change. It is the responsibility of the petitioner to update their identity as recorded on their passport, photo ID, vehicle registration, bank accounts, and the like.

Laws – §32-28-2

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

When you get married in North Dakota, you may choose to keep your family name, adopt your spouse’s name, or to use a hyphenated combination of your two names. To make the name change official, you will need to indicate your name change on your marriage license. Once the marriage ceremony has been performed and the officiant has signed the license, you will file the document with the Clerk of court. Call the Clerk to verify when your marriage certificate is ready and pick up at least two (2) certified copies to use as your proof of name change. Using your certificate is evidence of your name change, you will then need to update your passport, driver’s license, social security card, and any other important accounts and registrations.

Name Change After Divorce

If you wish to have your original surname restored after your divorce, you will need to include the name change in your divorce petition. By doing so, your name will be officially changed once your divorce is finalized. You will then be able to use your divorce decree as proof of name change when updating your personal ID, bank accounts, and government registrations. If you do not include the name change in your divorce petition, you will have to change your name by petitioning your county court (see Adult Name Change below).

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

To legally change your name in North Dakota, you must file a petition with the District Court of the county in which you have been a bonafide resident during the past six (6) months. Furthermore, you must be at least eighteen (18) years old and a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States. You cannot change your name to avoid any debts, creditors, or criminal record that you may have.

Step 1 – Notice of Petition for Name Change 

Before you file your petition, you must complete the Notice of Petition for Name Change and send it to your official county newspaper to be published. Once you have paid the publication fee and your notice has been published, you will need to obtain an Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper. This affidavit is the proof of publication which you must submit with your petition; however, you will not be able to file your petition until thirty (30) days have passed from the publication date. This publication requirement can be waived if you are either changing only your first and/or middle name, or if you are a victim of domestic violence.

Step 2 – Petition for Name Change

Once you have published the Notice of Petition for Name Change, you can fill out and sign the Petition for Name Change, except for the case number which the Clerk’s Office will supply. This document represents your formal request to the court that your name be legally changed.

Step 3 – Affidavit of Petitioner

Next, you will need to fill out the Affidavit of Petitioner, on which you will need to provide the reasons that you want to change your name. Your signature on this form must be notarized, so leave the signature and date fields on the final page blank (also leave the case number blank). The Clerk of Court will usually be able to provide you with a notary acknowledgment, otherwise, take the document to your local bank to be notarized. Most banks provide this service for a nominal fee.

Step 4 – Confidential Information Form

On the Confidential Information Form, you will need to provide your birth date which will not be shared with the public. Fill out and sign this form, leaving the case number blank.

Step 5 – Order Granting Name Change 

The Order Granting Name Change is the document which will be signed by the District Court Judge if your name change is approved. Prepare this form by filling out all of the fields except for the case number, date, and signature fields.

Step 6 – File Petition with Your District Court

After completing the five (5) steps above, bring the following documents and an $80 filing fee to your District Court to file with the Clerk’s Office:

  • Petition For Name Change
  • Affidavit of Petitioner
  • Confidential Information Form
  • The Notice of Petition for a Name Change
  • Affidavit of Publication
  • Any written objections that you may have received
  • Order Granting Name Change

If you are asking the court to waive the publication requirement, you will not need the Notice of Petition and Affidavit of Publication. It is recommended that you make at least two (2) copies of all your documents. In the event that a court hearing is set for your petition, the Clerk of the District Court will let you know the date and location.

Step 7 – Criminal History Background Check (if applicable)

If the court decides that you need to provide a criminal history background check, they will inform you after your petition has been filed. Some courts will require both a state-wide and nation-wide criminal record check. To conduct a state-wide check, you will need to fill out the Request for Criminal History Record Information Form and send or hand-deliver it (with a check or money order for $15 made out to “North Dakota Attorney General”) to the address below.

Criminal Records Section
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation
4205 State Street
PO Box 1054
Bismarck ND  58502-1054

In seven (7) to ten (10) business days, you will receive the result of the background check, which you must file with the Clerk of the District Court. If the court requires that you have an FBI background check, they will instruct you on how and where to get fingerprinted, request a report, and file the resultant FBI background check report.

Step 8 – Receive Court Order/Attend Hearing

A court hearing is not required for name changes in North Dakota, but if the court decides that one is necessary for your case, you will need to attend it with copies of all your documents. If your petition is approved, the Judge will sign your Order Granting Name Change. You will need to obtain at least two (2) certified copies of the order from the Clerk’s Office to use as your proof of name change when updating all of your personal and governmental accounts and registrations. Once your name has been changed, it is your responsibility to change the name on your ID, bank accounts, passport, and social security.

Driver’s License

To change the name on your driver’s license, you will need to go to a DMV office in your area with your current license, a proof of name change, such as a court order, marriage certificate, or divorce decree, and payment for the $3 fee. In some cases, you may be required to have a new picture taken. After paying the fee, you will either be issued a new license on the spot or you will be given a temporary license and have your new license sent by mail.

Voter Registration

There is no voter registration in North Dakota. Instead, residents only need to show their current photo ID at their polling place in order to vote in a current election. Therefore, once you have updated your photo ID following a name change, you will be able to vote in any upcoming elections using your new name and identification. If your ID doesn’t display your address, you will also need to bring a proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, government check, etc.) to the polling station when you vote.

Minor (Child) Name Change

In North Dakota, the name of a minor can be changed only if their parent or legal guardian files a Petition for Name Change on their behalf. A minor is defined as a resident who has not yet reached the age of majority, which is eighteen (18). Both the petitioner and the minor must have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for a minimum of six (6) months. They must also both be citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States and the petitioner must be at least eighteen (18) years old. Furthermore, a child’s name cannot be changed in order to avoid creditors, debts, or to hide the child from another lawful parent.

Step 1 – Notice of Petition for Name Change of Minor

The first step in the process of legally changing your child’s name is to publish a public notice in your official county newspaper. This must be done thirty (30) days before you file a petition with the District Court. You will need to fill out the Notice of Petition for Name Change of Minor and submit it for publication. The newspaper will invoice you for their service and, after publishing your notice, they will send you an Affidavit of Publication. Keep this affidavit, because it is your proof of publication. If the child has a non-custodial parent living in another county, you must follow the same steps to publish this notice in their local newspaper. Furthermore, you must send the notice to the other parent’s last known address. Any written objections in regards to the name change must be kept and filed later with your petition.

In the event that you are only changing the child’s first and/or middle name(s) or if you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may file your petition without completing this publication requirement.

Step 2 – Affidavit of Service by Mail

If the child has a non-custodial parent who you have served notice to, you must fill out the Affidavit of Service by Mail and sign it in front of a notary public. You should be able to find a notary who can notarize this document at one of your local banks (there are a couple of documents that need to be notarized, so you can save time by notarizing them all at once).

Step 3 –Petition for Name Change of Minor

Next, fill out the Petition for Name Change of Minor except for the case number. On this document, you will need to provide extensive information regarding yourself, your child, and your relationship to them. Make sure that all of the information you provide is complete and accurate.

Step 4 – Affidavit of Petitioner for Name Change of Minor

On the Affidavit of Petitioner for Name Change of Minor, you must provide the reason for the child’s name change, attest that you have served notice of the change, and list any objections that you may have received (leave the case number blank). This document must also be signed in the presence of a notary public.

Step 5 – Confidential Information Form

The child’s birth date will not be made public. Instead, you will provide it on the Confidential Information Form, which you must fill out (except for the case number field, which the Clerk’s Office will provide) and attach to your petition.

Step 6 – Order Granting Change of Name for Minor

The date and Judge’s signature fields at the bottom of the Order Granting Change of Name for Minor should be left blank and the rest of the document filled out. If your child’s name change is authorized, the Judge will sign and date this document.

Step 7 – File Petition with Your District Court

Once the publication requirement and all of the required forms have been completed, compile all of the documents listed below and bring them to the Clerk’s Office of your District Court.

  • Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child
  • Notarized Affidavit of Petitioner
  • Confidential Information Form
  • Notice of Petition For Name Change
  • Affidavit(s) of Publication
  • Notarized Affidavit of Service by Mail
  • Any written objections that you may have received
  • Order Granting Change of Name

When you file your package, you will be required to pay a filing fee of $80. Call your Clerk’s Office ahead of time to ascertain what type of payment they accept.

Step 8 – Criminal History Background Check (if applicable)

At the court’s discretion, you and/or your child may be required to have national and state-wide criminal record checks performed. For national criminal background checks, the court will instruct you on how to have an FBI background check conducted. To check your criminal history in North Dakota, fill out the Request for Criminal History Record Information Form and send it to the following address:

Criminal Records Section
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation
4205 State Street
PO Box 1054
Bismarck ND  58502-1054

You should obtain the result of your state-wide background check within seven (7) to ten (10) days. Once both checks have been completed, file the two (2) reports with the Clerk of the District Court.

Step 9 – Receive Court Order/Attend Hearing

After filing your petition, you will either be given your signed Order Granting Change of Name or you will be notified of the date of hearing for your child’s name change. Hearings are not mandated for name changes in North Dakota, but if a date is set for your petition, you are required to attend and explain your case. After reaching a decision, the Judge will either refuse the name change or will sign and date your Order Granting Change of Name. This document once signed, is the official proof of name change for your child. You will need to present it when you change your child’s name as recorded on any official documents and registrations, including their birth certificate.