Several legal options are available for obtaining a name change. Names may be changed by an Adoption Decree, through a name change petition filed with the Special Proceedings Division, or through an application by a widow or divorced woman for the resumption of a maiden name, name of a prior deceased husband, or prior divorced husband if her children have that husband's surname.
Resuming a Prior Name
Resumption of a prior name is not considered a special proceeding and is filed with the Clerk's Office Civil Division.
You may resume a maiden name once you have a divorce judgment; additionally, you may resume the name of a prior deceased husband if you are a widow, or the name of a previously divorced husband if you have children with that husband's surname. These name changes require the completion of the appropriate forms and payment of the applicable fee, and you will need to attach a photocopy of the divorce judgment or death certificate.
For more information on resuming a maiden name or to obtain the appropriate forms, you may visit the Civil Division
Other Name Changes
If you are not resuming a prior name but would still like your name or the name of your minor child changed, you must petition the court for a name change.
Before a name change of a non-minor can be approved by the Clerk of Court, a notice must be posted for at least ten (10) days on the Courthouse bulletin boards indicating your intent to change your name, and you must demonstrate good and sufficient reason for the name change. You must also have at least two affidavits demonstrating proof of your good character filed by citizens of the county who know you.
Name Change of a Minor Child
A minor child's parent(s) or legal guardian may file an application to change the minor's name; however, the name of a minor child may not be changed without the consent of both parents (if living). If you are unable to obtain the consent of an absent parent, you will need to consult competent legal counsel to help you with the name change.
For assistance in petitioning the court for a name change, you are ENCOURAGED to contact an attorney.
You may link to the forms by clicking here:
ADULT name change
Fees include $120 filing fee and $3 for each certified copy needed.
For Vital Records to make these amendments, you will need a $15 money order payable to NC Vital records and complete the attached Application (http://vitalrecords.nc.gov/documents/bcertificatapp.pdf). If you request any of the additional options, your money order will need to cover those charges as well. Vital Records also requires photocopies of the petitioner’s photo identification.