New Mexico Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in NM

Updated August 07, 2022

Use an attorney at ContractsCounsel to change your name!

A New Mexico name change form is a legal document that residents must use in order to legally change their name and/or prove that their name has been altered. Once an individual’s name has been officially changed, they must present either a signed court order, a marriage license, or a divorce decree as proof when updating their social security, driver’s license, voter registration, and other accounts/registrations. In order to obtain a court order authorizing a name change, residents must file a petition with their District Court; they will also be required to publish notice of their petition and attend a court hearing regarding their case. When getting married or divorced, individuals may elect to adopt a new surname, or to restore their maiden name, simply by including the name change in their marriage/divorce proceedings.

Laws – §40-8-1 to 40-8-3

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

In order for residents to change their last name when getting married, they will need to request the name change when they apply for and purchase a marriage license, in person, at their local County Clerk’s office. The two people getting married will both need to bring their photo ID and give their Social Security number to the County Clerk, in addition to filling out a marriage license application. Once they have obtained a marriage license and are married, an officiant signs the license. Within ninety (90) days of the marriage, the license must be returned to the County Clerk to be recorded. After getting married, an individual can use a certified copy of their marriage license as proof of name change in order to update their Social Security, driver’s license, account holder information, and other places that they are registered under a previous name.

Name Change After Divorce

Residents of New Mexico are permitted to restore their maiden name when they get divorced. In order to accomplish this, they must indicate on their Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage that they will be resuming the use of a former name. Once the divorce has been finalized and the judge has signed the Final Decree, the document can act as proof of name change for any parties who have changed their name as a part of the divorce process. This proof of name change must be presented when changing a person’s name on their driver’s license or other forms of identification. Furthermore, the decree should be presented when notifying the IRS, social security, and other account managers of the name change. In the event that an individual wishes to restore a previous surname after their divorce has been finalized, they will need to file a separate petition with the District Court.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In order to be eligible to have your name changed in New Mexico, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be a resident of the County in which you are filing for at least six (6) months
  • Be at least fourteen (14) years of age
  • Not be changing your name to avoid debts or to defraud creditors, the government, or the public
  • Not be changing your name to include an obscene or racist slur
  • Not be changing your name to that is deliberately confusing or misleading

A legal name change is accomplished by submitting a petition to the District Court, publishing notice of your name change, attending a possible court hearing, and receiving a signed court order that authorizes the change. This entire process may take as little as three (3) weeks or much longer, depending on your case.

Step 1 – Petition to Change Name

In order to a request for a legal name change, you will be required to fill out a Petition to Change Name. Leave the signature field and notary verification section blank, as you will need to complete this part of the petition in the presence of a notary public.

Step 2 – Sign and Notarize Petition

Your petition must be notarized in order to be valid. Certain Clerks of Court in New Mexico will provide the necessary verification when you file your documents. Contact your Clerk’s Office to establish whether your District Court provides notorial services. Otherwise, you can usually have your document verified at your local branch. You will have to sign the petition in front of the notary, who will, in turn, provide their certification. Your document must be signed using your current name and not your desired name.

Step 3 – Notice of Petition to Change Name

Next, fill out the Notice of Petition to Change Name, leaving the paragraph which begins, “This Petition will be heard…” blank. This document will be completed by the Clerk of Court’s office in order to assign a Judge and date of hearing to your case.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

Review the list below to ensure that you have everything needed to file your petition.

  • Petition to Change Name
  • Notice of Petition to Change Name
  • Photo ID
  • Cash or money order for filing fee(s)

Make at least one (1) additional copy of each document to submit along with the original documents (often a requirement).

Step 5 – File Documents with District Court

Present yourself at the Clerk’s Office of your local District Court with all of the necessary documentation prepared. You will be asked to identify yourself using your current photo ID. If the Clerk of Court is able to provide notarization for your petition, sign your petition in their presence. You must pay the filing fee using cash or a money order; filing fees vary from one court to another, so call your Clerk’s Office ahead of time to establish the cost of filing a petition in your area.

Step 6 – Request a Hearing Date

You will need to request that the Clerk of Court assigns you a court hearing date or have a date assigned to you. In some instances, you may be required to request a court hearing at another court office. The hearing date is the date assigned for you to appear before a judge and formally make your request. Upon being assigned a hearing date, the Clerk will complete your Notice of Name Change form and issue it to you either in person or by mail. The hearing date will often be set three (3) weeks from the date of assignment, thus giving the petitioner enough time to fulfill the publication requirement (see next step).

Step 7 – Publish Notice of Name Change

You are required to publish your completed Notice of Petition to Change Name form in advance of your hearing. This notice must be published in a newspaper with distribution in your county once per week for a two (2) week minimum. If your county doesn’t have a local newspaper, you can publish the notice in a newspaper with circulation in a neighboring county. The notice must include your current name, your desired name, and your District Court information. The cost of publication must be covered by you, so it is your responsibility to have your notice paid for and published on time. After fulfilling this requirement, assemble two (2) specimens of the published notice which demonstrate that they were published in two (2) consecutive weeks, along with a completed Affidavit of Publication, and file them with the office of your Clerk of Court. If you have any concern for your safety regarding your name change being made public, inform the Clerk and they may be able to waive this requirement.

Step 8 – Final Order Changing Name

Fill out the Final Order Changing Name form, leaving the Judge’s signature field blank. This document, once certified, will be your proof that your name change has been approved. If you wish to keep your name change hidden from public record for reasons of personal safety, fill out the Order Sealing Final Order to Change Name, again leaving the Judge’s signature field blank.

Step 9 – Attend Court Hearing

On the hearing date, you must present yourself on time and with all of your name change documents. You will be called upon to answer some basic questions regarding your petition and reasons for changing your name. The Judge will hear any arguments or objections to your petition (if any exist). If the Judge approves your request, they will sign your Final Order Changing Name form.

Step 10 – File Signed Court Order

At this juncture, if the Judge has signed your Final Order Changing Name, your name change is nearly official. However, you must still file the signed court order with the Clerk’s Office. Once you have filed your court order with the Clerk of Court, your name will be officially changed and you can use certified copies of the certified court order to update your identity with the DMV, social security office, IRS, elections office, etc.

Driver’s License

Once your name has been changed, you must update your driver’s license so that it displays your new name. In order to request a new license, you will need to present yourself, in person, at a DMV office with your proof of name change (marriage license, divorce decree, or court order), current driver’s license, and current vehicle title. In some instances, you may also be asked to show an updated social security card and/or proof of residence (utility bill, lease, government cheque, etc.). The fees for acquiring a new driver’s license and vehicle title may vary depending on your location, so contact your local DMV office to verify the required fees and required documents for a name change. After completing your request and paying any associated fees, you will be given a temporary license and receive your new license by mail when it is ready.

Voter Registration

New Mexico residents are sometimes required to present a valid photo ID when voting in state elections. Therefore, it is important to update your voter registration after changing your name. This can be accomplished online through the New Mexico Online Voter Registration webpage or by filling out a Voter Registration Form. After filling out the Voter Registration Form, you will need to mail or hand-deliver it to your local county clerk or the Secretary of State (address supplied below). You will need to provide a copy of a valid photo ID or a proof of address (utility bill, lease, paycheck, bank statement, etc.) which displays your new name.

New Mexico Capitol Annex North
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Minor (Child) Name Change

In order to change the name of a minor (anyone who is less than fourteen (14) years old) in New Mexico, their adult parent or guardian must file a Petition to Change Name of Minor on the minor’s behalf. Furthermore, they must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The adult petitioner must be the minor’s biological parent or legal guardian.
  • The adult petitioner must be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
  • The adult petitioner must file their request at the District Court in which the child resides.
  • The minor must be less than fourteen (14) years of age.
  • The minor must be a resident of their current county for a minimum of six (6) months.
  • The name change must not be made to avoid debts or to defraud anyone.
  • The name change must not be made to hide the child from a legal parent or guardian.

Step 1 – Petition to Change Name of Minor

First, you must fill out a Petition to Change Name of Minor, except for your signature and the notary section on the last page, which must be signed in front of a notary. This form describes who you are, your child’s current name, and the proposed new name.

Step 2 – Sign and Notarize Petition

Your signature on the petition must be verified by a notary public. Certain courts may provide this service, so call your District Court to ascertain whether you can have your documents notarized when you file them. If the District Court does not provide notarial services, take your unsigned document(s) to your local bank to be notarized (some banks will charge a small fee for this service).

Step 3 – Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor

Fill out the Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor, except for the paragraph which reads: “This Petition will be heard…” You will submit this form along with the petition to be completed by the Clerk of Court when they assign a Judge and a hearing date to your case.

Step 4 – Obtain Parental Consent

Both of the child’s legal parents (if existent) must give their written consent to the minor’s name change. For this purpose, one or both of the following forms must be filled out and signed in the presence of a notary public:

Step 5 – Gather Documents

You will need to bring all of the following documents with you when you go to the District Court to file your petition:

  • Petition to Change Name of Minor
  • Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor
  • Father’s Consent to Name Change
  • Mother’s Consent to Name Change
  • Adult petitioner’s photo ID
  • Cash or money order to pay filing fee

Make at least one (1) copy of all of your name change documents.

Step 6 – File Documents with District Court

Before you go to file your petition, call your District Court Clerk’s Office to verify in advance that you have all of the required documents and to check the filing fee (procedures and costs often change and can vary from one county to the next). When you file your documents with the Clerk of Court’s office, you will need to identify yourself and pay the filing fee by cash or money order.

Step 7 – Request a Hearing Date

The Clerk of Court will either directly assign you a hearing date or you will request one which best fits your schedule. You may be told to request your hearing date at a different court office. Once your hearing date and judge have been assigned, the Clerk will finish filling out and stamp your Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor form.

If one of the minor’s legal parents has not given their consent, you must send a copy of the completed Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor form to their last known address by registered. Keep the mailing receipt to be filed with the court. Sufficient proof that a non-consenting parent was contacted or unable to be reached must be supplied to the court in order for your petition to be accepted.

Step 8 – Publish Notice of Name Change

Unless you have sufficient justification to keep your minor’s name change private due to safety concerns, you are required to send the Notice of Petition to Change Name of Minor to a local newspaper for publication. The newspaper must have weekly circulation in the county in which you reside or, if such a newspaper is unavailable, in a newspaper with circulation in a neighboring county. Publication must occur at least one (1) time per week for two (2) consecutive weeks and you must cover the cost. After the two (2) weeks of publication have been completed, you should attach two (2) examples of the published notice which demonstrate that you have fulfilled the requirement. Next, you must fill out the Affidavit of Publication of Minor. These documents must then be filed with the Clerk’s Office. In some cases, the newspaper may send the proof of publication and the affidavit to the District Court on your behalf.

Step 9 – Final Order Changing Name of Minor

Next, fill out the Final Order Changing Name of Minor, except for the Judge’s signature field. If there is sufficient justification to keep your child’s name change private, fill out the Order Sealing Final Order to Change Name of Minor (except for the Judge’s signature). These documents will be signed by the Judge assigned to your case upon the approval of your child’s name change.

Step 10 – Attend Court Hearing

Attend the court hearing for your child’s name change at the appointed time and bring at least two (2) copies of all of the related documents. Some courts will not allow children to be present, so your child may not be permitted to join you. When the Clerk calls upon you, you will be brought before the Judge and made to answer some basic questions regarding your petition to change your child’s name. If everything is in order, and there are no objections to your request, the Judge will sign the Final Order Changing Name of Minor and (if applicable) the Order Sealing Final Order to Change Name of Minor.

Step 11 – File Signed Court Order

Once signed, both the Final Order Changing Name of Minor and the Order Sealing Final Order to Change Name of Minor must be filed with the Clerk’s Office. At such a time that your documents have been recorded, you can obtain certified copies of your child’s Final Order Changing Name of Minor to be used as their proof of name change.