Charlotte Name Change Attorneys

There are many reasons people decide to change their names or the names of their children: marriage, divorce, and adoption are probably the most common reasons, but North Carolina also permits name changes “for good cause.”

Marriage, Divorce, Death of Spouse, and Adoption

Changing a name in these situations is usually very simple because the name change is recognized or built-in as a part of the process. Following marriage, you can generally change your name on your social security card and driver’s license simply by filing a form and providing a few documents (see Social Security Adult Name Change and NCDMV Name Changes).

As a part of a divorce action, a person can resume a prior name, and that can be included in the judgment of divorce.

Sometimes people do not change their name at the time of divorce and decide later that they want to change it. This, too, can be as simple as completing a form. The same form can be used to resume a former name following the death of a spouse.

It is not necessary to change your birth certificate following marriage or divorce.

Similarly, as a part of the adoption process, the adoptee’s name change be requested and included in the final decree.

“For Good Cause”

There are a myriad of other reasons people want to change their names or the names of their children: estrangement from parents/family, religious conversion, professional identity, gender transition, embarrassment, etc. Everyone’s situation is unique, so what constitutes “good cause” will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The petitioner will have the opportunity to explain the reasons in the petition, and if the clerk finds the reason to be good and sufficient, the clerk will grant the name change.


The law only permits a person one name change for good cause; the name of a minor child may be changed not more than two times.

A registered sex offender is prohibited from obtaining a change of name.

North Carolina General Statutes § 101

The Process

In North Carolina, a name change “for good cause” is accomplished by filing a petition before the clerk of the superior court in the county in which the person resides. Notice of intent to file name change must be posted prior to the filing of the petition. A state and national criminal history record check must be submitted with the petition along with two affidavits of character from residents of the county.

A petition for a child younger than 16 must be filed by one or both of the child’s parents. If the petition is filed by only one parent, a written consent from the other biological parent must be submitted. A petition for a child 16 or 17 may be filed by the child but must include written consent from both parents.

If you are interested in changing your own name or the name of your child, contact our office today for more information.

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