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Name Change


Changing the name of a minor can only be accomplished by the parent or legal guardian of the child. If the purpose of the name change is to simply alter a minor spelling mistake, a request to change the name can be made directly with the Arkansas Department of Health. However, changing a child’s name for any other reason will require an order issued by an Arkansas court.

Step 1: Petition for Name Change

Arkansas law requires a child’s parent or guardian to submit a written petition to a local Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. The petition must be notarized and should state the following:

  • Name of the parent/guardian
  • Child’s county of residence
  • The child's date of birth
  • Parent/Guardian’s relationship to child
  • Reason for changing name
  • Written consent of the other parent/guardian
  • Contact information

The packet below includes instructions and fillable forms to file for the name change of a minor.  

Step 2: Parental Consent

Both parents must consent to having the child’s name changed. If a legal guardian is requesting a name change they must get the consent of the child’s parents. 

The consent must also be notarized.  The parent will need sign in front of a Notary Public. 

If one parent does not agree to the name change, the other parent can file papers to request the change. The non-consenting parent must be served with copies of the name change papers and a summons, and given a chance to object. 

A Consent to Name Change is included in the form packet.  If you need another copy,  download and fill out the attached form.

Step 3: Submit Forms to Circuit Court's Office

Take two copies of your Petition for Name Change to the Circuit Clerk’s Office for filing along with the Civil Cover Sheet. 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 Circuit Court Clerk.”

If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, then you can file an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) Petition.  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.

Step 4: Attend Hearing

After filing the Petition for Minor 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, any Consent, and two orders. One order includes your child’s Social Security Number or Driver’s License Number and the other is redacted, meaning that information is blacked out. The blacked-out copy will be available to the public.


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:
•My child’s current name is __________________
•My child’s date of birth is ___________________
•The child’s parents consent to the name change and have filed a consent.
•My child’s driver’s license number or social security number is listed on the order.
•I would like to change my child’s name to _________________________because__________________________________________________
•I understand that changing my child’s name does not change any of their rights or responsibilities

The judge may ask you additional questions. If the judge approves your petition, she will sign both copies of the order and give them back to you.

Step 5: File the Order

Take the two orders to the Circuit Clerk for Filing with the Civil Disposition Sheet. Explain that there are two orders, one that is redacted and one that is unredacted. The clerk must:

  1. File both orders, but make sure only the redacted version is publicly available; and
  2. Send a copy of the unredacted order to:
    • Arkansas Crime Information Center
    • Arkansas Driver Control, and
    • the Division of Vital Records

You can request a certified copy of the order to update the child's name other places, like the school and Social Security Administration.