Who can file for a name change for a child?
A parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a child may file a petition requesting a change of name of the child in the county where the child resides.
Does the Court appoint an attorney ad litem?
A court is not required to appoint a guardian ad litem or next friend when the child’s interests are not in conflict with the person filing suit.
In Newman v. King, 433 S.W.2d 420, 424 (Tex. 1968), a case in which a guardian, rather than a guardian ad litem or next friend, represented the minor petitioner, the Texas Supreme Court held that failure of the trial court to appoint a guardian ad litem or next friend was not a fundamental error. The failure to appoint a guardian ad litem also did not deprive the trial court of jurisdiction to decide the matter once jurisdiction was obtained, and the order was in the best interest of the child.
In re Griffiths, 780 S.W.2d 899, 900 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1989, no writ), the biological father of a child had a right to have the child’s name include his surname because it was in the best interest of the child.
What does the Petition to Change the Name of a Child Require?
A petition to change the name of a child must be verified and include:
(1) the present name and place of residence of the child;
(2) the reason a change of name is requested;
(3) the full name requested for the child;
(4) whether the child is subject to the continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court under
Chapter 155 of the Texas Family Code; and
(5) whether the child is subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal
If the child is 10 years of age or older, the child’s written consent to the change of name must
be attached to the petition.
Does a parent have to be served with citation for the name change?
The following persons are entitled to citation in a suit under this subchapter:
(1) a parent of the child whose parental rights have not been terminated;
(2) any managing conservator of the child; and
(3) any guardian of the child.
Citation must be issued and served in the same manner as in any other petition.
Can a parent sign a Waiver of Service?
A party to a suit under this subchapter may waive the issuance or service of citation after the
suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.
The party executing the waiver may not sign the waiver using a digitized signature.
The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party executing the waiver.
Notwithstanding Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the waiver must be
sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit. This subsection does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.
What Order does the Court sign?
The court may order the name of a child changed if the change is in the best interest of the child; and for a child subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.
The change under Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure must also in the interest of the public; and the person petitioning on behalf of the child provides the court with proof that the child has notified the appropriate local law enforcement authority of the proposed name change.
The important issue to remember when petitioning the Court to change the name of a child is that the court in determining the best interest of the child may consider: (1) the relationship of the parent requesting the name change with the child; (2) the child’s preference; (3) the child’s age; (4) the potential embarrassment to the child; and (5) other facts. While the court may consider these factors, the court has the ultimate discretion when deciding whether a name change is in the best interest of the child.