New Jersey Rules and statutes have set up a detailed procedure for someone to legally change their first name, last name or both. Using an experienced attorney, you can have a new name approved by the Superior Court with only one court appearance.
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Sections 2A:52-1 et seq. of the New Jersey Statutes, and Rule 4:72 of the New Jersey Court Rules set forth certain legal requirements your attorney most follow.
The following information must be provided by you to your attorney so it can be supplied to the Court by way of Complaint.
The complaint must be signed by the applicant in front of their attorney. Your attorney will prepare a Order Fixing Hearing for Name Change. The complaint and Order are filed in the Superior Court. The Order will be signed by the Judge setting forth the date to come to court and other legal requirements, such as publication and notice. Your attorney will submit the Order for Hearing to be published in a newspaper of general readership, such as the Home News Tribune. Proof of publication must be filed with the court. A proposed Judgment for Name Change is forwarded to the Judge to be signed if the approved.
On the date selected by the Court the matter will be opened to the Court on the Complaint of the Plaintiff, the plaintiff having appeared by their attorney seeking a judgment allowing him/her to assume the new name. Following questioning of the applicant and it appearing from the Verified Complaint that the plaintiff complied with the requirements of the statute in such case made and provided, and it further appearing that after notice of the hearing was duly published, no reasonable objections were made thereto, and for good cause appearing, the Court should approve the name change. However, the work by your attorney is still not done. The Judgment for Name Change must be signed the Judge. Your attorney shall cause to be published in the Home News & Tribune or another newspaper a copy of the Judgment; Within 20 days after the entry of the Judgment, your attorney will cause to be filed a certified copy of the judgment, together with an affidavit of publication, with the Clerk of Middlesex County, as well as the Secretary of the State of New Jersey, pursuant to the statute and rules.
The Applicant should forward copies of the Court's Judgment for Name Change to change their name on legal documents and identification such as Driver's License, Social Security Card and birth certificate.
Name change statute in 2002 2A:52-1.
Action for change of name 2A:52-1. Any person may institute an action in Superior Court, for authority to assume another name. The complaint for a change of name shall be accompanied by a sworn affidavit stating the applicant's name, date of birth, social security number, whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, and whether any criminal charges are pending against him and, if such convictions or pending charges exist, shall provide such details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to. The sworn affidavit shall also recite that the action for a change of name is not being instituted for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud. If criminal charges are pending, the applicant shall serve a copy of the complaint and affidavit upon any State or county prosecuting authority responsible for the prosecution of any pending charges. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly gives or causes to be given false information under this section.
Amended 1981,c.362,s.1, 1993,c.228,s.1.
2A:52-2. Effect of judgment, copy to State Bureau of Identification
2A:52-2. Such person, from and after the day specified therefor in the judgment in the action, shall be known by the name which, by the judgment, he is authorized to assume, and by no other. The judgment for change of name shall include the applicant's social security number and date of birth. The clerk of the court shall forward a copy of the judgment to the State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police if the person has been convicted of a crime or if there are criminal charges pending against him.
Amended 1981,c.362,s.2; 1993,c.228,s.2.
2A:52-3. Effect of change of name on actions or other proceedings No action, or other legal proceeding commenced in his former name against any person whose name shall have been changed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall, by reason of such misnomer, be abated, nor shall any relief of recovery sought thereby be prevented.
2A:52-4. Correction of record of birth or marriage Upon the receipt of either of the following documents: