Section 9-2-101 of the Arkansas Code states that, upon good reason shown, the circuit court has the power to alter or change the name of a person. Therefore, you should prepare a reason for the courts to consider as a valid circumstance for a change of name (e.g. preferred common usage, religious reasons).
You will need to prepare a cover sheet to accompany the request to change your name.
Include the following information:
Fill in the forms. The county is the county in which you live. After In the Matter of type in your current legal name. Enter your desired name after For a Change of Name to. Those names should fill in throughout the document. Complete the rest of the forms. There is both a Petition and an Order.
Take the Petition for Name Change to a Notary Public to have it notarized. Do not sign any forms until you are in front of the Notary Public. Notarial services are often available at bank branches and various government agencies (a small service charge may be required). Alternatively, a notary can be found in your area by conducting a search of the Secretary of State’s database.
Take two copies of your Petition for Name Change to the Circuit Clerk’s Office for filing. The Circuit Clerk will require a filing fee of around $165. An exact amount can be determined by contacting the Clerk’s Office in the county where you live. Payment will be accepted in cash or by check/money order made payable to “[County Name] County Circuit Court Clerk.”
If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, then you can file an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) Petition. The petition, supporting affidavit, and order are available on this website at Fee Waiver Information. You must get the In Forma Pauperis Order signed by a judge before you can file the name change without paying the filing fees. If the IFP Petition is granted, after filing the form with the clerk the judge will enter an Order waiving your filing fee.
After filing the Petition for Name Change ask the Circuit Clerk about the procedure for presenting an order to the judge in that county. There may be a set day to present your case in court, or you may have to contact the Judge’s Trial Court Administrator to be placed on the docket. There may also be a less formal procedure.
When you are in front of the judge you will be sworn in. Give the Judge a copy of the Petition and Order. Once you are sworn in you must present testimony. The judge may ask you questions or have you present testimony on your own. You should tell her the following information:
The judge may ask you additional questions. If the judge approves your petition, she will sign the order and give them back to you. Your name change is not finalized until you file that order with the circuit clerk.
Take the orders to the Circuit Clerk for Filing along with a completed Civil Disposition Sheet. Explain that there is a driver's license or social security number on the final order that will need to be redacted. The clerk must:
File a redacted and unredacted copy of the order, but make sure only the redacted version is publicly available; and
Send a copy of the unredacted order to:
Arkansas Crime Information Center,
Arkansas Driver Control, and
the Division of Vital Records, if you ask.