Individuals are permitted to change their names as long as they have a permissible reason to do so. Obviously, a name change will not be approved if the purpose or effect of the change is fraudulent, such as avoiding creditors or criminal proceedings. The court can also deny an application for a name change if the reason for the change is “frivolous.”
In order to change your name in New Jersey, you must prepare and file a complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey. You must certify that the information contained in the complaint is true to the best of your knowledge. The complaint must include: the reason for the name change, your current name, your marital status, that you are not attempting to avoid creditors or criminal prosecution, your citizenship status, the place and date of your birth, and your parents’ names. There is a $200 filing fee which must be paid when the complaint is filed with the court.
After the complaint to change your name and related documents are filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey, the judge will issue an order with a hearing date. You must appear before the judge and ask for your name to be changed. In the order issued by the judge, you will be required to publish the hearing date in a newspaper and present an affidavit of publication to the court. Then, if you properly complied with the notice requirements and the judge is satisfied with the reason for your request, the information you provided and that you are not seeking a name change for a fraudulent purpose, the judge will issue a final judgment changing your name.
If you have pending criminal charges against you, you may still seek a name change. However, you must first notify the prosecutor by sending a copy of the verified complaint and order fixing the date of hearing by certified mail to either the prosecutor of the county where the matter is pending, or to the director of criminal justice in Trenton if the charges were brought against you by the office of the New Jersey attorney general.
After the judge issues the final judgment, it is your responsibility to ensure that all of your official records are changed. The final judgment will also need to be published as the judge instructs. Once again, you will need to file an affidavit of publication with the Superior Court of New Jersey. You will then need to obtain certified copies of the final judgment from the court. You are required to, at a minimum, notify the Department of Treasury, the Bureau of Vital Statistics – Record Modification Unit, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, by sending a certified copy of the final judgment along with the required fees for each. The New Jersey Courts have prepared a packet entitled
The attorneys at McLaughlin & Nardi can represent you in changing your name. Our attorneys will prepare the necessary court papers, appear with you at the court hearing before the judge and ensure that you comply with all the requirements to change your name. Contact us by telephone 973-890-0004 or e-mail for more information.