Recently, I have had two different clients ask me about how they go about changing a minor child’s name in Illinois.
While one can certainly elect to utilize an Illinois licensed attorney for this matter, this is one of those situations where one could help themselves, provided they of course understand and follow the law.
So lets start with the law. A direct link HERE to 735 ILCS 5/21-101
My law school, The Southern Illinois University School of Law has put together an excellent free handout of name change in Illinois. You can read it HERE
For a YouTube SIRI style video, you may enjoy this:
I urge you to read the SIU Law Name Change info packet in full prior to doing anything else with your desire for a minor’s name change.
Remember this is the State law of Illinois, so while various court fees may change, the process is the same in every county in Illinois.
I practice most often in Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois and thus the remainder of this post specifically helps those in these Illinois counties.
Here is a link to the Lake County Clerk of the Court’s Name Change page: CLICK HERE
And here is a Link to the McHenry County Clerk of the Court’s Name Change page: CLICK HERE (It should be noted the McHenry Co. Clerk’s page lists both adult name change and how to change a minor child’s name.
On either Clerk’s Name Change pages, we find the same four (4) documents.
Using Lake Count for example, we first find MINOR NAME CHANGE INFORMATION
For those too terrified to click above, here is the Lake County info you can get above verbatim below:
Minor Change of Name
1. Obtain and complete the following forms:
a) Petition for Change of Name (2 copies)
b) Decree of Change of Name (3 copies)
c) Notice of Motion (3 copies)
Notice of Motion is used only when the natural parents are not cohabitating
d) Notice of Publication (3 copies)
Notice of Publication is used only when the whereabouts of the non-custodial
parent is unknown.
2. When both biological (birth) parents are in agreement of the name change, the parents file the
Petition for Change of Name in the Circuit Clerk’s Office. The Petition has to be notarized prior to
filing. The Clerk requires a filing fee of $271.00 in cash, money order or credit card. No personal
checks are accepted. The Circuit Clerk will give you a date to appear in court to hear your
Petition. Both parents must appear on this date. This date can be any day Monday through
Thursday at 9:00am or 1:30pm.
3. If the biological (birth) parents of the minor are not cohabitating, or consenting in writing to the
name change, the custodial parent must file the Petition along with a Notice of Motion and mail a
copy by certified mail to the non-custodial parent. At the time of filing the Petition, (be sure
Petition is notarized) a court date will be set by the Clerk and the $271.00 fee must be paid in
cash, money order or credit card. No personal checks are accepted. On the set court date,
parents will appear in the assigned courtroom. Make sure all copies of the Decree are complete
at that time.
4. When the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent is unknown, the custodial parent must publish
the change of name request in the newspaper. First come to the Circuit Clerk’s Office and file the
Petition for Change of Name. The petition must be notarized. The Clerk requires a filing fee of
$271.00 in cash, money order or credit. No personal checks are accepted. The Circuit Clerk will
give you a date to appear in court to hear your Petition. Next you have to publish your intention to
change the name in a newspaper of general circulation in Lake County. The Circuit Clerk’s office
will forward your Notice of Publication to the newspaper. There is a publication cost, which the
newspaper will contact you about. You can contact the newspaper to find out what the cost for
publication is. The Notice has to be published for three consecutive weeks after the Petition is
filed, with the first insertion at least six weeks before your court date.
5. After publication is completed, the newspaper will mail you a Certificate of Publication. Make sure
you take this Certificate with you to your court hearing.
6. After your court hearing, go to the Circuit Clerk’s Office to obtain certified copies of your Change
of Name Decree. The fee is $6.00 for the first copy and $15.00 for each additional copy
This PDF walks you through the entire process.
The Next Document is the NAME CHANGE DECREE
You can fill in the PDF with your individual info and print out (remember to always print three (3) copies 1. for you 2. for the court file, and 3. to give to the opposing party)
The Next Document is NOTICE OF PUBLICATION
The Final Document is PETITION FOR NAME CHANGE (MINOR)
As you can see, there is a fairly straight forward process necessary to change a minor child’s name in Illinois. Filing fees will be different from county to county, but the process is largely the same.
An Illinois license attorney should be able to better assist you should you have additional questions. Please note and embrace the forms available for your use at most Illinois Judicial Circuit Clerk of the Court webpages. These forms allow you to customize your case for the specific child and name change you desire while still making sure that the law, as written by the legislature is followed.