This article explains how you can change your own name. If you want to change your name and your minor child’s name or just your minor child’s name, see How to Ask the Court to Change a Name in Chancery Division, Family Part (from NJ Courts).
I am getting divorced. Do I have to file a separate application to change my last name?
No. You can ask to have your last name changed in the divorce proceeding.
How do I get a court order giving me permission to change my name?
The New Jersey Court has a forms package you can use to file for a name change.
To file for a name change, you must file a “verified complaint” in the Law Division. The verified complaint will include your current legal name, social security number, date of birth, and other information. The verified complaint includes a statement regarding whether you have been convicted of a crime and a statement that you are not filing the application for a name change to avoid creditors or criminal prosecution. You must also list any judgments that you have against you and the reason you would like to change your name. In a verified complaint, you must certify (swear) that the information in the complaint is true.
An “order fixing the date for the hearing” and a form for the judge to use for the final judgment must also be submitted to the court.
The court will insert a hearing date and return a copy of the papers to you.
File these documents with the court with the fee of $250. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request a fee waiver from the court. (More information is available at Court Filing Fee Waivers.
What if I have been convicted of a crime or have criminal charges pending against me?
Once you have received the order fixing the date of hearing, you must send a copy of the order to the Division of Criminal Justice. If you have any criminal convictions, you must also send a copy of all papers to the prosecutor of any town or county where you have criminal actions pending. These papers must be sent to the Division of Criminal Justice and any prosecutor at least 20 days before the hearing. When you receive the certified mail green cards back from the post office, you submit them to the court as proof that the documents were mailed to the Division of Criminal Justice and the prosecutor.
The prosecutor and the director of criminal justice have the right to file an objection if they believe the name change is intended to avoid or obstruct criminal prosecution, avoid creditors, or perpetrate criminal or civil fraud.
What happens at the hearing?
At the hearing, you will be required to submit proof of your current name. This can be a driver’s license or passport. The judge will look at your papers and see if there are any objections to your request for a name change. If any of the parties who have been given notice of your name change application file objections to the application, the court will ask you to answer questions about the objections. You must answer these questions honestly. If you lie about the answers to these questions, you can be charged with a fourth-degree crime.
The judge will probably sign the order if there are no objections to your application, and the judge is satisfied that the name change is reasonable and you are not asking to change your name to avoid creditors, obstruct criminal prosecution, or to perpetrate criminal or civil fraud. The order will generally allow you to start using the new name immediately.
What should I do after the hearing?
Certified copies with a raised seal of the Final Judgment and Final Judgment Addendum can be ordered from the court using the Judicial Electronic Document System (JEDS) by submitting a request to the court for a $25 fee for each certified copy. Send a certified copy to the Department of the Treasury within 45 days from the date you begin using your new name and the Registrar of Vital Statistics. To change your name on a driver’s license, motor vehicle registration, or handicapped or non-driver’s identification card, you must present a certified copy with a raised seal to the Motor Vehicle Agency or Regional Service Center within 2 weeks from the date you begin using your new name.
You should also think about changing other official documents that have your former name on them. You can request a name change online with the Social Security Administration and then visit the office in person with your documents. You may also want to send a copy of your Final Judgment to your bank or the Board of Social Services/welfare office (if you are receiving welfare) and any other agencies with which you are involved, in order to get new identification or to have your name put on the records.
This information last reviewed: Jul 5, 2023