NH Law About... Name Changes

Introduction to... Name Changes

Updated May 17, 2018. 

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 is the appropriate 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.

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... Name Changes

WEBSITES

Circuit Court. Family Division - Name Change

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

The Family Division accepts name change petitions if they relate to an open or closed case of a Family Division case type over which the Family Division has jurisdiction. For example, a person whose divorce was from the Superior Court (which used to handle divorces in NH) or from an out-of-state court would file their petition in the Family Division because the Family Division has jurisdiction over divorces. If the 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: May 17, 2018

This webpage includes name-change checklists that include: 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: May 17, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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 17, 2018

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Read the law about... Name Changes

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATUTES

RSA 5-C. Vital Records Administration  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 170-B. Adoption   GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 263. Motor Vehicles  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 458. Annulment, Divorce and Separation  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 490-D. Judicial Branch Family Division  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 547. Judges of Probate and Their Jurisdiction  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 550. Citations and Notice  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

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

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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: May 18, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

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: May 17, 2018

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

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

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

Link verified on: May 17, 2018


FOR MORE HELP ...

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

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

United States. Social Security Administration. How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security number card?  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018


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