Forms and Fees can be filed in person or mailed to the court. See Paying Your Fees for information on how to pay.
After the petition is filed, the court must request a criminal record check from the Office of the Commissioner of Probation for any petitioner 10 years or older. Public notice of the petition is given by publication, and the citation for publication will be sent to you by the court. You must arrange to have the citation published in a local newspaper and mailed according to the instructions given in the order of notice on the citation. Mailing must be by certified mail, return receipt requested. After publication and mailing, you return the original citation with a clipping of the notice from the newspaper, the green return receipt post card, and your signature certifying that you mailed and published the notice to the court.
If you have a good reason for the notice not being published, you can file a motion to waive publication. An affidavit (a sworn statement) must be filed with the motion explaining why you do not want the notice published. You may have to go before a judge to present your reasons.
How Soon Will My Case Be Heard?
It will depend upon the backlog of cases in the Probate and Family Court where your case has been filed. If an in-person hearing is not required in your case, once you have returned proof of service to the court and the return date has passed, the case will be sent to the judge. If it is approved by the judge, the court will send you a certificate under the seal of the court, establishing the new name.
If there are objections to the petition, the court will conduct a trial to hear them. The court can either dismiss the petition or enter a decree permitting the requested name change. If the name change is allowed, the Register of Probate will issue a certificate establishing the new name.