New Jersey Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in NJ

A New Jersey name change form consists of a Complaint Form, Order Form, Judgment Form, Proof of Mailing Form, and Civil Cover Sheet. These forms can be completed and filed by any citizen of the State wishing to legally change their name for political, religious or other personal reasons. Completed name change forms must be submitted to the Superior Court in the petitioner’s county of residence. Falsifying information on any of the forms is a fourth-degree offense. The change of name of individuals eighteen (18) years old or younger (minors) must be petitioned by the child’s parent(s). Those who wish to change their name after a divorce, or take their spouse’s name after marriage, are not required to petition for a name change through the court.

Laws§ 2A:52-1

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Changing your name when you get married is a quick, easy process. Since it is legal for a person to take their spouse’s name after marriage, all you have to do to legally change your name is put your new name on your marriage certificate. This certificate, once you are officially married, serves as proof of your legal name change. It would be wise to notify the Social Security Administration of your new name as soon as possible.

Name Change After Divorce

Reverting to your maiden or former name after you get divorced should be just as easy as it was to change it after you got married, as long as the divorce proceedings move smoothly. Once your divorce has been filed with the court, they will grant your name change if you make your request known. A provision will be added to the divorce decree stating that you wish to revert to your maiden name (or whatever former name you choose). Have the court provide you with a certified copy of the decree so you can update your name with various state and federal agencies.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

Any person over the age of eighteen (18) may petition for their own name change in the State of New Jersey. Petitioners who have been convicted of a crime or have criminal charges pending against them can still apply for a name change; however, all details in connection with the charges or conviction must be present in the petition (also known as the ‘Complaint’). Leaving out any details or falsifying information could lead to further criminal charges. If criminal charges are pending, the appropriate authorities must be notified of the proposed name change by the petitioner.

Step 1 –  Verified Complaint

Download and complete the first form of the New Jersey name change packet, the Verified Complaint. This form should contain all your personal information and includes a certification at the bottom of the second (2nd) page of the form. This certification, when signed by you, states that all the information on the form is true and that you understand the penalty of perjury.

Step 2 – Order For Hearing

The second form of the name change packet is the Order Fixing Date of Hearing Form. Download this form and complete the top section of the page. Leave the rest blank; the court will complete this after you file all the forms.

Step 3 – Final Judgment

The Final Judgment Form is the document that, when signed by the judge, serves as legal proof of your name change. Only complete the top section of the form and any fields that do not have “leave blank for the court to complete” written below them.

Step 4 – Civil Case Information Statement

Download the Civil Case Information Statement and fill out all the appropriate fields. This form functions as a summary of your case, helping it move through the court system with minimal delay.

Step 5 – File Forms

Make copies of all completed forms before submitting them to the Superior Court in your county (a list of county courts can be found at the bottom of this webpage). You have the choice between hand-delivering these forms, or mailing them to the court clerk. In either case, you must pay a $250 name change filing fee (payable to Treasure of the State of New Jersey if you are mailing a check) and provide the court clerk with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Step 6 – Returned Copies

The court clerk will enter a docket number on each form that you submitted along with a hearing date and time. Copies of the Verified Complaint and Order Fixing Date of Hearing will be returned to you in the envelope you provided. Aside from the docket number and hearing date, the court will provide the name of a local newspaper in which you must publish the Order of Hearing.

Step 7 – Notify the Prosecutor (if applicable)

This step applies only to those who have criminal charges pending against them. If you are in this situation, you must notify the prosecutor of the county where the charges have been filed. Send copies of the Complaint and Order of Hearing forms by regular mail AND certified mail. The post office will send you a certified mail receipt once the package has been delivered. Download the Proof of Mailing Form and attach the receipt to it. Make copies and send the originals to the court.

Step 8 – Publish Order

Contact the newspaper chosen by the court and have them publish the Order Fixing Date of Hearing and the Newspaper Notice. The Order must appear in the newspaper at least two (2) weeks prior to your hearing. After publication, the newspaper will send you an Affidavit of Publication. Make a copy for your records, and file the original with the court clerk.

Step 9 – Attend Hearing

On the day of your hearing, you are required to appear before a judge and answer any questions they might have concerning your name change complaint. As long as you have properly completed all the forms and have not falsified any information, the judge should be inclined to approve your proposed name change. The judge will sign the Final Judgment Form making your name change legal.

Step 10 – Publish Final Judgment

Once you’ve received a certified copy of your Final Judgment, you are required to publish it in a local newspaper; the court will select a newspaper for you. The Judgment must be published no more than (20) days after the judge signed the form. Once it has been published, the newspaper will provide you with an Affidavit of Publication. Make a copy and file the original with the court.

Step 11 – Deliver Final Judgment

A certified copy of the Final Judgment must also be sent to the Department of Treasury and the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the State in which you were born. The Department of Treasury must receive this form within forty-five (45) days of it being ordered, whereas there is no time limit posted for the Vital Statistics office. Furthermore, the DoT asks for a $50 fee for this service.

Driver’s License

After you’ve legally changed your name, you should update your driver’s license within one (1) week of receiving the court order (or marriage certificate/divorce decree). (The NJ MVC requires you to change your name with the SSA before updating your driver’s license.) Updating your name on your driver’s license cannot be done online or by mail, you must visit your nearest MVC office in person. Bring one (1) piece of primary ID (BC, passport, current DL), one (1) document proving your name change, one (1) document proving residency (utility bill, bank statement) and your Social Security number. You will be asked to pay the $11 replacement card fee and your new card will be sent to you in the mail.

Voter Registration

Updating your voter registration after a name change is basically the same as registering to vote for the first time. You must complete a voter registration application form and mail it to your county’s commissioner of registration. There is no standard application form for the State of New Jersey; instead, each county has their own form. Visit the New Jersey Department of State website and select the appropriate application form below the name of your county. The forms are almost identical except the second page of the form contains the appropriate mailing information. Once you have completed all the necessary fields on the application, follow the instructions at the bottom of the second page to learn how to mail it.

Minor (Child) Name Change

Minor name changes are to be petitioned by the child’s parents. If only one parent is involved in the petition or the parents no longer reside together, the non-petitioning parent must be notified by mail. A minor is prohibited from changing their name for fraudulent purposes or in an attempt to avoid legal charges.

Step 1 – Verified Complaint

Download and complete the Verified Complaint for Name Change of Minor Child. All the appropriate fields must be filled out, including the ‘Certification’ section at the bottom of the second page. This form does not need to be signed in front of a notary public, however, signing the ‘Certification’ section implies that you are signing under penalty of perjury.

Step 2 – Order of Hearing

Download the second form of the name change packet, the Order Fixing Date of Hearing. Complete only the top half of the form; the bottom will be completed by a judge.

Step 3 – Final Judgment

The Final Judgment Form is the document that, when signed by a judge, makes your child’s name change legal. Download the Final Judgement Form and complete the top section of form. You should also fill out any fields in the middle section that do not indicate otherwise (i.e., “leave blank for the court to complete”).

Step 4 – Cover Sheet

A cover sheet, or Civil Case Information Statement, is a form that helps your Complaint move smoothly through the Superior Court system. Download the form and fill out all appropriate fields.

Step 5 – File Forms

New Jersey allows petitioners to file their name change forms by mail or in person. Make copies of each complete form, and mail or hand-deliver the originals to your county’s Superior Court. The cost for filing the name change forms is $250 (checks can be made out to Treasurer, State of New Jersey). It’s important that you submit a stamped, self-addressed envelope so the court clerk can return copies of the Complaint and Order of Hearing forms to you.

Step 6 – Returned Copies

You will receive copies of the Verified Complaint and Order of Hearing in the mail after a few days. At this point, the forms will have a docket number, and the Order Form will contain a date and time for your hearing. Furthermore, the court will provide the name of the newspaper company that you must use to publish the Order of Hearing Form.

Step 7 – Notify Prosecutor (If Applicable)

This step is only required if your child has criminal or delinquent charges pending. If this applies to your child, you must send copies of the Complaint and Order of Hearing by certified mail to the prosecutor handling the minor’s case. Once the forms have been received by the proper authority, you will be given a certified mail receipt from the post office. Download the Proof of Mailing Form, fill it out, and attach the return receipt to it. Make copies of each and submit the originals to the court.

Step 8 – Publish Order

Contact the newspaper that the court specified and send them a copy of the Order Fixing Date of Hearing. Ask them to publish this document in their newspaper at least two (2) weeks prior to the hearing date. After publication, the newspaper will send you an Affidavit of Publication. This document proves that you followed the proper publication requirements; file the Affidavit with the court clerk before the hearing. (You may want to make copies and keep one for your records.)

Step 9 – Notify Parent (If Applicable)

If you are not filing the name change complaint with the minor’s other parent, you must notify them of the proposed name change. To accomplish this, send copies of the Verified Complaint and the Order Fixing Date for Hearing to the last known address of the non-petitioning parent. You are required to send these forms by regular mail AND certified mail. You should receive a certified mail receipt from the post office once these forms have been delivered. Download and complete the Proof of Mailing Form, attach the receipt to this form, and make copies. File the originals with the court before the hearing.

Step 10 – Attend Hearing

On the date of the hearing, you, the petitioner, and the minor must appear before the judge appointed to the case. The judge will look over the forms and may ask you questions related to the case. The judge will also take any objections into consideration, particularly those coming from the non-petitioning parent, should they choose to attend. If the judge believes the name change is suitable and is in the best interests of the minor, they will sign the Final Judgment.

Step 11 – Publish Final Judgment

The court clerk will give you a copy of the Final Judgment, filing the original in the court’s records. The judge, or court clerk, will select a newspaper in which you must publish the Final Judgment. The Judgment must be published no more than twenty (20) days after the Judgment was signed.  You will receive another Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper, which must be filed with the court.

Step 12 – Deliver Final Judgment

You are required to send the Final Judgment to the Department of Treasury as well as the Registrar of Vital Statistics. Make certified copies of the Judgment and send one to the Department of Treasury, along with $50. Send a copy to the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the State in which the minor was born.