If you live in North Carolina and you wish to legally change your name, there is a certain process that you must go through. Changing your name is a matter of public record unless there are special reasons that you would not want this to be public, such as if you are a victim of stalking. You would need to provide evidence that this is the case.
Name changes for adults
You must file a petition with the clerk of the superior court in the county that you live in to change your name. You will also need to provide a substantial amount of information, such as your birthday, the names of your parents, your reason for wanting a name change and whether you have tax or child support debt. A background check will also be performed. You will need to have character witnesses, and whether to allow the name change is ultimately up to the clerk of court.
Name changes for juveniles
If you are younger than 18, the process is somewhat different. Parents must file on behalf of a child younger than 16, but older children can file on their own behalf with parental agreement. Although the consent of both parents is generally required, this is not the case if one parent has abandoned the child or if the parent has been abusive to the child or the child’s sibling. The process is more streamlined if you are younger than 16. For example, you will not need character witnesses or a check for criminal history.
Procedures such as name changes are known as special proceedings. While a name change is usually a straightforward process, it is necessary to precisely follow the steps required. You may want to work with an attorney to ensure that these steps are followed correctly or if you anticipate issues in the process of having your name changed.