How Do I Change My Daughter's Last Name in Delaware?

By Renee Price
cute girl image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com

Adoptions, paternity outcomes and remarrying are all reasons to change a minor's name. Delaware parents can file a change of name petition in the Court of Common Pleas to change their child's name. One parent can sign the petition to change a minor's name or a legal guardian can file for a name change if both of the minor's parents are deceased. However, when you file to change your child's name, if the other parent is living, you must contact them and provide the opportunity to contest the proposed name change.

Obtain a name petition form from the Delaware state court website. Select the form for the county where your child resides or the closest county to your residence.

File a notice of name change form with a newspaper in your county. Delaware requires name change applicants to notify the general public of name changes. Publish the notice once a week for three consecutive weeks. You must pay for the publication costs. The newspaper will provided an affidavit of publication after the three week period.

Complete the petition for name change forms, except the form letter. Outline your daughter's full name, address and provide a daytime telephone number. Complete lines 8 (a) and 8 (b) of the form, which asks for the names of your daughter's living and deceased parents.

Complete the questionnaire for minor children in your packet. The questionnaire asks your daughter's current name and proposed name, whether the natural mother or father has parental rights, if the natural father appears on her birth certificate and so on.

Sign the petition and if your daughter is 14 years of age or older, she must sign the petition and appear in court to testify her desire to change her name.

Ask a notary public to notarize the petition and attached affidavit. Staple the notarized petition and affidavit, affidavit of publication from the newspaper and questionnaire for minor children. Include a copy of your daughter's birth certificate in the packet.

Take your completed packet to the clerk's office and pay the filing fee. This fee includes a court security assessment and one certified copy of the order signed by a judge or commissioner. You must pay for additional copies with a separate check.

Select a hearing date and complete the form letter to notify your daughter's living father if she hasn't signed the petition. Mail the form letter and a copy of the petition to her mother or father by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Save the green return receipt and a copy of the form letter to the hearing.

Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled hearing so the bailiff can check you in and escort you to the appropriate courtroom. If your daughter is six years of age or older you must bring her to the hearing. If your daughter's father does not agree to her name change, he will be present at the hearing to contest the name change.