Name Changes in New Mexico
Any resident of the state of New Mexico, aged 14 years or older, is allowed to legally change their name through a court as long as there is no reason a court should not grant the request. Special requirements remain for individuals under the age of 14 to receive a name change but would necessitate a call to your local name change lawyer for further information.
“Common law” name change is also possible (though not usually legally binding) in New Mexico; meaning that going to court is not always necessary. Simply start using your desired new name in everyday instances. However, it may cause difficulty when getting state approved documents or identification. It is not lawful to change your name via this common law route if you are doing it to avoid paying bills to creditors, police investigations or the government in any form.
A judge or court can refuse to grant the petition to change name. If an outside party objects to the change, as in the case of unpaid bills, a judge may not grant the name change. If the person wishing to change their name are avoiding the police or is changing it to commit crimes under a different name the change will certainly not be granted. When a child seeks to change their last name both parents or legal guardians must agree to the change. If one parent objects because the other is trying to damage the bond between the child and objecting parent, the name change, again, will likely not be granted. It is still more difficult or a process if law enforcement authorities object to the name change petition because a prisoner, ex-convict or probationer desires a new name because of tracking and tracing concerns. More simply put, one cannot change their name to clear their prior criminal record.
Requirements for a name change:
- A notarized petition to change name must be filed at the district court in the county where the petitioner resides.
- Official notice of the name change must be published in a general newspaper to allow for people to attend the hearing and lodge their complaints/objections to the change..
- If anyone desires to object to the name change they can do so at a scheduled hearing. A judge will ultimately approve or deny the name change.
- If a judge allows the change of legal name, you will receive certified copies of the order that will allow you to obtain state approved documents. A copy of the name change order will also need to be filed with the county clerk’s office, as well as the Social Security Administration and the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
- It is not necessary to get a new birth certificate with your new name but it is possible to obtain an updated copy.
Typical costs of a court-ordered name change:
After the previous steps have been made to change your name the average court and publication cost is approximately $200. This amount can change or even be waived if you have low income and qualify for your filing fee to be deferred. There will still be other costs for a name change including the fee to publish the notice of the petition/hearing, and of course, certified copy expenses. If you need help with your name change, be sure to contact one of our New Mexico Name Change Attorneys.