Adults and minors can request permission to change their names through Family Court.
The process for adults is more direct and less cumbersome than process for a minor. An adult name change generally requires formal investigation and reporting to the Family Court that the name change is not being sought for an improper purposes. The Family Court seeks to confirm that a person is not trying to avoid their legal past. The most common issue is a last name from a past marriage. Regardless, many personal situations call for a name change.
The process for minor children requires the appointment of a Guardian ad litem to determine if the change is best for the child, and in most instances, requires notice to both biological parents. Children born before marriage, or of parents who have changed their name through marriage or adult name changes are left with a last name that mirrors no other person in their household.