Tennessee Name Change Requirements
General Summary of Name Change Laws
The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.
You cannot change your/one's name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your/one's name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).
IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions, which involve a minor, our materials are strictly for use if both parents consent to the name change. If one parent does not consent, our materials are not appropriate. The applicant may wish to contact a local lawyer, bar association, etc.
Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY.
General Summary of Name Change Laws in Tennessee for an Adult
In Tennessee, an adult may change their name by filing an action in the Chancery Court with appropriate forms. The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in Tennessee begins with the filing of a Petition with the Chancery Court in the jurisdiction in which the Petitioner resides. The Petitioner (the person who initiates the suit/application) must have lived within the State of Tennessee and the County in which they will be filing their application in for at least six (6) months. IMPORTANT NOTE: Our materials should not be used by residents of Davidson County, Rutherford County and Shelby County. Please check with your local courthouse to determine what resources may be available to you.
The Petition includes personal information as required by statute, such as the Petitioner's name, the new name the Petitioner wishes to adopt and the reasons for the request for change of name. The Petition must be verified by Affidavit. After filing the Verified Petition and other appropriate forms and paying the required filing fee for such, the Court will schedule a hearing date and will advise the Petitioner if publication of any notice is required. Follow the directions of the clerk accordingly.
At the hearing, the Court may take evidence from all interested parties and may examine, upon oath, the Petitioner or any other persons concerning the Petition. In the event that anyone files an objection to your request, your case will become contested and you are strongly urged to hire an attorney. If you do not retain an attorney you will have to represent yourself in a contested hearing.
The Court may grant or refuse the requested change of name. If the Chancellor/Judge is satisfied that the Petitioner has met the statutory requirements, and that the requested name change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person, the Chancellor/Judge will sign an Order to make the name change official.
Typically, the Petitioner only has to appear in court twice, once to file the case, and once to go before the Chancellor/Judge and request the name change. Sometimes, however, the court will hear the request for change of name right after the Petitioner turns their paperwork in (that same day).