Name changes can be complicated and require a lot of leg-work on the front end before you can even get to the point of filing the necessary paperwork with the Court.

There are two main categories of name changes: Adult and Minor. 

Both have different requirements that must be completed in order to file with the Court.

Fingerprinting for the Name Change Process

Adults and minors over the age of sixteen (16) are required to obtain two (2) sets of fingerprints from the local Sheriff’s Department. Most Sheriff’s Departments take walk-ins for fingerprints, however, some do require an appointment so it is important to check your local department’s policies online before making the trip. 

A Background Check is Required

Once you have your fingerprints, you will use them to obtain both a state and federal background check. The time turn-around on background checks is the lengthiest part of the process, so patience is key! 

Once your background checks are done the paperwork process can commence. 

First, you must post a notice of intent to change your name at the courthouse in the county in which you live for ten (10) days. When that requirement is satisfied, you will need to complete the name change application and affidavit of residency, tax/child support obligation, and sex offender registry. 

You must also obtain two (2) affidavits of character from persons unrelated to you who are over eighteen (18) year of age and are residents in the county in which you are filing. 

To file the paperwork, you must have a certified copy of your birth certificate and valid photo identification. Once you have all of the required documentation, you can file the paperwork with the Court. 

Eventually, the Court will issue an Order granting the name change. 


  • Fingerprints from Sherrif’s Department
  • Federal Criminal Background Check
  • State Criminal Background Check
  • Notice of Intent to Change Name
  • Application for Adult Name Change
  • Two (2) Affidavits of Character
  • Affidavit of Residency, tax/child support obligation, and sex offender registry
  • Certified copy of the birth certificate
  • Valid photo identification 

Process for Name Change for Children

For minors under the age of sixteen (16), the process is relatively simple. 

First, a notice of intent to change name must be posted at the courthouse in the county in which the minor resides. Then, both of the minor’s parents must sign the name change application. 

If one of the parents is deceased, you will need to provide a certified death certificate. The Court also requires a certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate and valid photo identification for each parent. 

In summary, legal name changes in North Carolina are a paperwork-heavy process. There are multiple steps and requirements to adhere to. For this reason, it is recommended to have an attorney assist in the process. 

The attorneys at Hopler, Wilms, & Hanna, PLLC are experienced in both adult and minor name changes and would be glad to assist you with your name change needs.

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