Getting a Name Change in Minnesota

Did you recently get a divorce and no longer want to be associated with your ex?  Maybe you just want a fresh start with a new life and a new name?  Are you a former mafia member looking to hide from the feds?  Well, we can help you with two of the three of those by applying for a name change in the state of Minnesota.  Generally, obtaining a Minnesota name change is pretty easy, as court procedures go. 

By following the appropriate legal name change process, we can obtain a change of name to practically anything you want, and can have that reflected on your driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, and other legal documents.

If you aren’t changing your name as the result of marriage or divorce (both a divorce decree and marriage certificate can legally change a person’s name without having to go through the process described below), you’ll need to start a new action in the district court following the appropriate Minnesota laws.  We’ll start by adhering to the process laid out in Minnesota Statutes § 259.10 through 259.13.

Types of Name Changes in MN

Adult Name Change

Assuming you are over 18 years of age, first, you or your attorney will need to fill out the application for name change to be filed with the district court.  There is also a filing fee to be paid, but in the right circumstances you may apply for a waiver of the fee if you cannot afford it.  The application for name change is fairly straightforward and basic. You may be able to fill it out at your local law library, but be aware that the law library cannot give you any legal advice.  For that, you would need to speak to an attorney.  The form will ask you what name you want your name to change to, and will ask you what other basic information about yourself you may be looking to edit (for example, gender identity).  In addition to questions about your name change desires, it is going to ask you:

  • Whether you’ve lived in Minnesota for at least the last six months (…if not, you will need to wait until you have)
  • Your current name, date of birth, and address
  • Your current spouse’s name, date of birth, and address (if any)
  • Names of any minor children you have (if any)

Aside from the application for name change, you will need to execute a criminal history check release form and you or your attorney will need to provide the court with a proposed order granting name change.  You can obtain copies of these documents from the Minnesota Court Forms website.  After filling out the name change forms, delivering them to the court administrator, and paying the filing fee (all of which are tasks an attorney can also take care of for you, if you so choose), a hearing date will be set where you will need to answer certain questions for the judge before they will be willing to issue a court order regarding your name change. They will ask whether you have ever received a felony conviction.  They will ask questions to determine whether through your name change request you are seeking to defraud others.  

You might notice that a lot of the questions the judge (or your attorney) asks you during the court hearing are the same or similar to those that you answered as part of your affidavit in the name change application (which, by the way, you will need to sign in the presence of a notary).  Even though by signing the affidavit you are stating under penalty of perjury that everything you have stated is true, the judge is going to want certain things said on the record in open court during your hearing date at the district court.  Not that we think you would, but you should be aware that if you did happen to lie on the affidavit, that would constitute a misdemeanor and the prosecuting authority for your county may charge you with such.

Once the court order has been issued, you can obtain a certified copy from court administration.  You can then use that certified copy to help with a number of processes, including updating your driver’s license, obtaining an amended social security card from the social security administration, and even amending your birth certificate.  In Minnesota, updating the birth certificate will require yet another application in the form of the Birth Record Amendment Packet.  The court order authorizing your name change will need to specifically state that your birth certificate is to be amended.  If the court order does not state that, you will want to speak to your attorney or file a motion with the court yourself to amend the order granting name change.

Minor Name Change

If the person seeking to change their name is under the age of 18, there are additional requirements and different processes to go through.  The processes will vary a little depending on whether the name change is the result of an adoption or not.  In any event, the legal guardian for the child will need to be involved in the name change application.  In rare cases, the applicant parent can obtain a name change for the minor child over the objection of another parent.  It is typically VERY difficult to change a child’s name if the other parent is objecting.  To do so requires essentially proving that it is in the child’s best interest to no longer have that name; you need to be able to show that the reputation of the name itself is so harmful that it is more important to change the minor child’s name than to maintain the link between the child and its father through the bond of the last name.  Whether or not you agree with that logic, the fact is it is a very established court precedent.  So please be aware before calling seeking a minor name change that if the other parent is objecting to the change the odds are very high the attorney you talk to may tell you it isn’t worth your money or time.  

Following obtaining a minor name change, the procedures for modifying the birth record are different from those for making the change for an adult.  We recommend you consult an attorney to ensure you complete this process correctly.  While a name change is among the simpler things a person can attempt to do through the court in the state of Minnesota, we still strongly recommend hiring an attorney rather than attempting to do it all yourself if you do not have significant experience with the legal system.

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Meet Tony Toepfer

Attorney Anthony (Tony) Toepfer began his legal career in the area of business and technology law. While successful in that field, he felt there was something missing. He turned down opportunities, because, as he says, “I wanted to see the faces of the people I was helping.” He transitioned into family law practice, and found what he was looking for.

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