NH Law About... Changing Your Name

Introduction to... Changing Your Name

Posted October 23, 2015. Reviewed February 3, 2017.

Family Law by Charles Douglas is a good place to start when researching name changes in New Hampshire. According to Douglas:

"At common law a person can adopt another name at will without recourse to any legal proceedings if the change is not made for a fraudulent, criminal, or wrongful purpose. … Absent statutory restrictions, a person may change his or her name at will."  (p. 20-1).

Even though legal proceedings are not required, some institutions or agencies may require documentation, including a court order, to change their records. For the most part, name changes in New Hampshire are handled by the Probate Division though there are circumstances when the Family Division may be the proper court. Check the links below for more information.

Several New Hampshire statutes relate to changing a person’s name. Generally, see RSA 547:3-i, I: Change of Name.  Section II provides a further process for persons who want to change their name who are either incarcerated, on probation, on parole, or for a person required to register as a sex offender. Other New Hampshire statutes relating to changing a person’s name are: RSA 458:24, 25 Decree, Return of List; RSA 550:4 XI, Cases Requiring No Notice; RSA 5-C Vital Records Administration (several sections relate to birth records);  RSA 170-B:26, Change of Name;  RSA 263:9, Notice of Change of Licensee's Name or Address; and  RSA 490-D:2(X), Jurisdiction. Consult court rules as well: see Family Division rules 9.1 to 9.10, Name Change Actions. Follow the links below to read the statutes and rules.

The “Read About …” section of this guide refers to resources about the law and will provide context and key terms. “Read the Law …” links to selected laws and should be used as a jumping off point for further research. Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney. 


Read about... Changing Your Name

WEBSITES

Circuit Court. Family Division - Name Change

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

Family Division accepts name change petitions if they relate to an open or closed case of a Family Division case type. Persons seeking a name change in Family Division must complete a Petition for Change of Name relating to Family Division Jurisdiction, and check the relevant Family Division case type, listing any known case name and number. If the petitioner's name change does not relate to a Family Division case type, they must file a petition with the Probate Division.   GO>

Circuit Court. Probate Division - Name Change

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

This webpage includes information for people who change their names including: how to obtain an amended birth certificate, a suggested list of other records that may need to be changed, and checklists for adults and minors.   GO>

Circuit Court. Probate Division - Procedure Bulletin 18: Change of Name; RSA 547:3-i, II

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

This information bulletin describes how petitions for name changes under RSA 547:3-i, II are processed.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. Division of Motor Vehicles. Licensing. Record Change Request. Name Change

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

Any New Hampshire driver who changes his or her name is required by law (RSA 263:9) to submit written notification to the DMV within 10 days. You must hand in your current New Hampshire driver license and a replacement license with a new photo and signature will be issued at no charge. At the DMV office, you will be given a 60-day temporary paper license and the permanent license will be mailed to you.   GO>


PRINT

Family law / by Charles G. Douglas. New Providence, N.J. : LexisNexis, 2014. 4th ed.   GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

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Read the law about... Changing Your Name

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATUTES

RSA 5-C. Vital Records Administration  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

RSA 170-B. Adoption   GO>

Link verified on: March 16, 2017

RSA 263. Motor Vehicles  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

RSA 458. Annulment, Divorce and Separation  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

RSA 490-D. Judicial Branch Family Division  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

RSA 547. Judges of Probate and Their Jurisdiction  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

RSA 550. Citations and Notice  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: July 21, 2017

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE CASES

118 N.H. 199 (1978). Moskowitz v. Moskowitz

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

The court is allowed to determine, in its discretion, the sufficiency of the reasons, but not to arbitrarily deny the change, unless there exists such special circumstances as unworthy motive, the possibility of fraud on the public, or the choice of a name that is bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste.   GO>

164 N.H. 335 (2012). In re Name Change of Alexander Goudreau

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

We conclude that our discretionary standard of review of decisions allocating parental rights and responsibilities applies in child-naming disputes. Historically, we have applied this standard in cases involving parental disputes over children, including those regarding decision-making and residential responsibilities.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: July 21, 2017

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE COURT RULES

Circuit Court. Family Division. Rules  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Learn About New Hampshire Court Rules: Follow this link to learn how to search court rules online as well as what court rules are and how they're published. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE FORMS

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, Record Change Request  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

New Hampshire. Dept. of State. Division of Vital Records Administration. Confidential Report of City or Town Clerk Relative to an Adoption  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

NHJB-2175-P. Petition for Change of Name (Probate Division)  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

NHJB-2319-F. Petition for Change of Name Related to Family Law Jurisdiction  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

NHJB-2320-F. Name Change Affirmation  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

NHJB-2321-F. Name Change Information Sheet  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017

NHJB-2322-F. Consent to Minor Name Change  GO>

Link verified on: February 3, 2017


FOR MORE HELP ...

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: September 22, 2017

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>


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