Changing Your Name in Kentucky

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Can an adult change his or her name?
Yes, usually. In Kentucky, a person over the age of 18 can generally get his or her name changed by a court. It is actually not necessary to get a court order for a name change; an adult can simply begin using a new name as long as the person is not trying to get away from creditors or criminal problems. However, you can get a court order for a name change if you want to. Some people prefer to get a court order to make it easier to change your name with agencies.

I am an adult and I want to change my name. My parents do not want me to. Can they stop me?
No. The parents of an adult do not have the right to object to an adult’s name change.

What if I want to change my name for personal safety reasons?
If you are interested in finding out information about whether changing your name will help increase your personal safety (because of domestic violence and/or stalking experiences) you may want to contact your local domestic violence for more information and/or assistance. To find the domestic violence program nearest you, visit or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Can I change my children’s names?
The rules for changing children’s names are more complicated. If both parents of the child(ren) agree to the name change and are willing to sign the Petition to the court (discussed below), it is usually possible to change the child(ren)’s name(s). If the other parent of the child(ren) is deceased, the remaining parent can file the petition. However, if one parent does not agree to the name change or is not around to sign the Petition, he or she will have to be served with notice of the filing of the Petition with the court. It is best to consult an attorney if this is your situation.

How do I change my name in court?
First, you will need to file a name change petition in the district court in the county where you live. We offer an interactive form on this site to help you create a name change petition. Or, you can obtain this form from the district court clerk’s office, or download the Petition for Name Change (PDF file, 368 KB) from the Court of Justice website.

What happens after the court orders my name to be changed?
If the court grants the name change, the court will give you a decree of name change, certified by the clerk of the court. This is your proof of the name change. Once your name has been changed, you will need to notify government agencies (particularly the Social Security Administration), your employer, your creditors and other agencies and businesses that you deal with. Kentucky law requires that within ten (10) days of changing your name, you must go to the circuit clerk’s office in the county where you reside to change your driver’s license to reflect your name change.

Reviewed August 2009