Archive for July, 2015
Here is what you need to know about how to change your name in Maine. This information is general and everyone’s situation is different. It is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer before beginning any legal action.
File your name change petition in the county where you live.
You should go to your local Probate Court and ask for a copy of a petition for change of name. There are different types of petitions for adults and minors. You may need a copy of your ID or some proof that you live in the county where you are filing. There may be a fee for a copy of the forms. Every Probate Court sets their own fees (for example, here are the fees for Cumberland County) and may have different procedures.
Notice of your name change will be published in a newspaper. Some probate courts will publish the notice for you. You should check what the procedure is at your local probate court. If you are a victim of abuse and are in reasonable fear for your safety, you can motion the Probate Court to limit the notice of your name change. Some courts may also require you to notify your spouse, if you are married.
Some Probate Courts require you to come back to court for a hearing about your name change. That hearing might be in a courtroom or might be in chambers with the Judge. Some Probate Courts do not require you to come back for a hearing. You should check with your local Court about their procedure. Unless the court believes that your name change is sought for the purpose of defrauding another person or entity or other reasons contrary to the public interest, the court may change your name after hearing.
What if you are filing for a minor?
If you are filing on behalf of a minor, you should request a petition for change of name of a minor. Only a legal custodian of a minor may petition for a name change. Even if a parent has been awarded sole parental rights and responsibilities, or “sole custody,” the child’s other parent may need to give written consent or consent in person at court to the name change. If you are concerned that they may not consent or you do not know where they are, you should talk with a lawyer before petitioning the court.
Do I have to do anything else?
The Court can ask you to have a criminal history record check, a motor vehicle record check, or a credit check, and can make you pay for those types of background checks. If you are transgender, you should not have to prove that you have taken certain steps in your transition, and you should not have to present any doctors letters or medical records to change your name.
Can my name change be denied?
The statute that governs name changes states the probate court may change your name, but it does not state that the probate court must change your name. If your name change is denied, you should receive an order from the court that gives the reasons why your request was denied and you should contact an attorney immediately because you have a very short time to appeal.