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West Virginia Name Change Forms | Petition

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West Virginia Name Change Forms | Petition

Updated December 21, 2023

West Virginia name change forms are legal documents that a resident of the state can use to apply for a name change. Anyone over the age of 18 can petition for their own name change. These forms are not necessary if you want to change your name after getting married or divorced.

Name Change After Marriage

No formal change petition is necessary to change a last name after marriage; instead, just add the desired name to the marriage license application. When the license is drawn up, the new name will be included in the document.

Upon receiving a marriage certificate, use it as proof of the legal name change in order to update the name on file with various state and federal agencies. To obtain copies, file an Application for a Certified Marriage Certificiate with the state Vital Registration Office.

Name Change After Divorce

After a divorce, you can return to the name you had prior to getting married, also without filing a name change petition. Indicate the desire to do this in the marital settlement agreement. This will ensure the judge handling the divorce is aware and can include a name-change clause within the divorce decree. Once the divorce proceedings are finalized, the judge will sign the decree.

You will need a certified copy of this decree. The state’s Vital Registration Office maintains divorce records, but does not offer certified copies of divorce decrees;  these can be obtained from the court clerk in the county where the divorce was finalized.

How to Change Your Name (5 steps)

  1. Verify Eligibility
  2. Complete Petition
  3. File Forms
  4. Post Notice
  5. Attend Hearing

1. Verify Eligibility

Individuals at least 18 years old may petition for a name change in their county’s circuit or family court. To be eligible to change your name in West Virginia, you must have resided within the county where you are applying.[1] Non-residents can also apply so long as they:

  • Were born in the county;
  • Were married in the county; and
  • Previously resided in the county for at least 15 years.

Many petitions ask you to affirm that you have never been convicted of a felony, including outside of West Virginia. However, while a judge will not approve a name change petition for someone who is currently incarcerated, a judge may grant the petition for people who have past felony convictions if no one will be harmed by the change; the judge may also require that you are on parole or probation, or in some cases that enough time has passed since the conviction.[2] Anyone who is required to register as a sex offender is not permitted to change their name in the state.[3]

2. Complete Court Forms

The State of West Virginia allows you, or your attorney, to complete the West Virginia Adult Name Change Petition and Civil Case Information Statement (in Part II, make sure to select the checkbox “Other” and enter “Name Change”).

3. File Forms

Visit the circuit court or family court in your county and file the Petition and Civil Case Information Statement with the court clerk.

The clerk will ask you to pay the filing fee. This fee varies throughout the state; though it tends to be around $25, you may want to call your local clerk’s office to inquire. If needed, you can apply for a fee waiver[4] by completing the following forms:

4. Post Notice

West Virginia gives people who may be harmed by your name change the right to object to the court.[5] As a result, after filing your Petition, you must make a public notice regarding your hearing date and proposed name change.[6] To meet this requirement, provide a newspaper with a notice you create yourself, or use this fillable Notice of Publication Form. Either way, the notice must disclose the time and place of your name change hearing.

This notice must appear once at least 10 days prior to your hearing in a newspaper that publishes weekly in your county. Only those that publish what are known as Class I legal advertisements are eligible.[7] When the clerk gives you your hearing date, ask which newspapers are eligible.

5. Attend Hearing

On the allotted date and time of your hearing, you must appear before the judge to answer any questions they might have concerning your name change petition. In West Virginia, as in other states, a name change petition requires you to offer information about yourself, including why you are seeking a name change, and the judge may seek to verify that you are not seeking the name change to perpetrate fraud.

Anyone familiar with your hearing, through the notice publication or otherwise, can show up and object to your name change. If the judge does not hear any objections and deems your new name appropriate and law-abiding, they will sign an Order for Name Change. You will be given a copy and can use this as proof of your legal name change, and the court will automatically file a certified copy with the office of the county clerk in the county where you reside.[9]

Driver’s License

Updating your name change on your driver’s license is a two-step process. First, you’ll need to update your name with the Social Security Administration. Download the Application for a Social Security Card (SS-5) and enter all the appropriate information. Submit this form along with proof of identity, proof of lawful presence, and proof of name change to the SSA by mail or in person. You will receive your Social Security card within 14 business days of your application being processed.

After receiving your new Social Security card, you can apply for a new driver’s license with the West Virginia DMV. Download and complete the Application for a Driver’s License or Photo ID Card. Visit your local DMV and bring proof of your name change, proof of your identity, proof of address (two documents), and proof of your Social Security number. The clerk will ask for the appropriate fee. You will be given a temporary license and will receive your official license in the mail within 15 business days.

Voter Registration

Your voter registration must be updated after legally changing your name to render you eligible to vote in upcoming elections. To inform your county’s elections office of your new name, download and complete the West Virginia Voter Registration Application. Make sure to select the appropriate checkbox under ‘Section 1’ of the form and enter your new name. Mail this form to your county clerk. Alternatively, update your voter registration online.


  1. § 48-25-101(a)(1)
  2. § 48-25-103(a)
  3. § 48-25-103(c)
  4. WV Supreme Court Administrative Order: Fee Waiver
  5. § 48-25-102
  6. § 48-25-101(b)
  7. § 59-3-3
  8. § 48-25-104