Name change requests in NJ should be filed in civil court if:
- You are over the age of 18.
- You are not changing your name as part of a change in your marital status.
Use the packet titled How to Ask the Court to Change Your Name—Adults Only.
Name change requests in NJ should be filed in family court if:
- You want to request a name change for a child under the age of 18.
- You want to change your name at the same time you are requesting a name change for your child under the age of 18.
Use the packet titled How to Ask the Court to Change a Name in the Chancery Division, Family Part.
Name change after divorce. To resume your maiden name as a result of a divorce, you can file a motion in family court as part of a pending or post-judgment divorce case. If your judgment of divorce stipulates that you can resume your maiden name, you do not need to file any other motion. You can apply for a new social security card free of charge with the Social Security Administration office.
Name change after marriage. A name change as a result of a recent marriage do not require a court order. You can apply for a new social security card free of charge with the Social Security Administration office.
Errors on official documents. Contact the State Registrar of Vital Statistics for corrections on these documents:
- birth certificate
- marriage license
- civil union
- domestic partnership
Do I need a lawyer to file a name change?
The court system can be confusing, and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services.
Legal Services of New Jersey maintains a directory of regional legal services offices.
The NJ State Bar Association also maintains a list of county referral services that might be helpful.
Things to think about before you represent yourself in court
While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the Rules of the Court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help.
- We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
- We can tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
- We can give you some information from your case file.
- We can provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
- We can provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
- We can usually answer questions about court deadlines.
- We cannot give you legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice.
- We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
- We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
- We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
- We cannot talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
- We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court.
- We cannot change an order issued by a judge.