This New Jersey name change guide on how to change your name in Gloucester County has been prepared for those who are seeking to change their name in Gloucester County, New Jersey, or any other New Jersey county. The entire legal name change process in New Jersey will take somewhere between 2 and 4 months from start to finish and can be broken down into the following four basic steps.
Step 1. Filing of the Name Change Pleadings with the Court
The initial step in the New Jersey name change process is to fill out the proper court pleadings. These pleadings will include each of the following documents:
1. Complaint for a Name Change;
2. A proposed Order Fixing Hearing Date;
3. A proposed Final Judgment; and
4. Civil Case Information Statement.
In general, these documents will contain general information about you and will tell the court who you are, where you reside, what your current name is, why you would like to change your name, and what you would like to change your name to.
If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney will draft these pleadings and handle the entire name change process for you. The only thing you would need to do is sign the name change complaint in front of a notary public and thereafter attend the name change hearing with your attorney. If you are not represented by an attorney, the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts has prepared a pro se packet containing forms that can be used by self-represented litigants.
After the name change forms have been drafted and signed, they must be filed with the court together with the court filing fee. Your name change documents must be filed with the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division, Civil Part, in the county in which you currently reside. Click here for a county directory of New Jersey Superior Courts.
If you reside in Gloucester County, New Jersey, your pleadings will need to be with the Gloucester County Superior Court at the following address:
Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division,
Gloucester County Courthouse
70 Hunter Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
The current filing fee for a name change in New Jersey is $250.00.
Step 2. Publication and Notice Requirements Prior to the Hearing
After the name change forms have been filed with the Superior Court, the Court Clerk will thereafter return a copy of the Name Change Complaint stamped “filed,” together with the Order Fixing Hearing Date, which was filed out by the judge assigned to handle your name change.
In the Order Fixing Hearing Date, the judge will indicate on which day and time your name change hearing has been scheduled. It will also state that name of the local newspaper where you will need to publish the Order Fixing Hearing Date.
The documents returned by the Court Clerk will also contain the docket number for your name change application. A docket number is simply the case number that the court assigned to your case. Once your case is issued a docket number, it should be included on all future correspondence with the court.
After you receive the Order Fixing Hearing Date, you will need to contact the newspaper specified by the Judge and request that they publish the Order Fixing Hearing Date at least two weeks before the scheduled hearing date. See New Jersey Court Rule 4:72-3.
You are also required to notify any other “interested parties” of your hearing date. For instance,if you have criminal charges pending, you will need to notify the County Prosecutor and/or the Attorney General of your name change application. Moreover, if you are unilaterally attempting to change the name of a minor, you will need to notify the other biological parent of the name change application.
Prior to your scheduled hearing, you will need to provide the Judge’s chambers will proof that the Order Fixing Hearing was published in the newspaper. After the newspaper publishes the Order Fixing Date of Hearing, they will send you what is known as an Affidavit of Publication. The Affidavit of Publication is proof that the newspaper published the Order Fixing Date of Hearing. Thus, after receiving the Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper, you will need to send the original to the Judge’s chambers, together with proof that you notified any other interested parties (if applicable) of your name change.
Step 3. Attend the Hearing
On the scheduled date and time, you will need to attend the name change hearing. Assuming there are no objections to your name change (there rarely will be), the Judge will most likely grant your name change and provide you with a Final Judgment that day in court. The Final Judgment is simply the order executed by the judge granting your name change.
While you are at the courthouse, you should try to obtain extra certified (raised seal) copies of the Final Judgment as you will need certified copies of the Final Judgment to send to the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Vital Statistic. You will also need to bring a certified Final Judgment in person to the New Jersey DMV and the Social Security Administration to change your name through those agencies, although they should return the certified copy to you that same day. We therefore recommend that you pick up at least 3-4 certified copies of the Final Judgment (one for the Department of Treasury, one for the Department of Vital Statistics, and one or two for your own records). Please note that the Department of Treasury and the New Jersey Department of Vital Statistics will eventually mail you back the certified Final Judgment after your name change has been processed.
Step 4. Publication and Notice Requirements After the Hearing
After appearing in court, you will need to publish the Final Judgment in the same newspaper you published the hearing notice in no later than 20 days after the date on the judgment. See New Jersey Court Rule 4:72-4. Again, after publishing the Final Judgment, the newspaper will send you an Affidavit of Publication. Once received, you will need to send the original Affidavit of Publication to the Judge’s chambers.
- Notifying the New Jersey Department of Treasury. In addition, you will need to send a certified copy of the Final Judgment to the New Jersey Department of Treasury within 45 days of the Final Judgment, together with a check in the amount of $50.00. Mailing instructions can be found on the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s website.
- Notifying the Department of Vital Statistics where you were born. You should also send a certified copy of the Final Judgment to the Registrar of Vital Statistics of whichever state you were born in. Mailing instructions for the New Jersey Department of Vital Statistics can be found on their website.
- Notifying the Social Security Administration. To change your name through the Social Security Administration, you will need to appear in person at your local Social Security office with proper identification and a certified copy of the Final Judgment or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office. Detailed instructions are located on the Social Security Administration’s website.
- Notifying the New Jersey MVC. To change your name on your driver’s license, you will need to appear in person at a MVC office with proper identification and a certified copy of the Final Judgment.
Other Name Change Resources
For further information about the New Jersey name change procedure, you can review the New Jersey Statutes relating to name changes.
If you are representing yourself, you can also learn more about the New Jersey name change process by reading the New Jersey Name Change Pro Se Packet.
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding name changes in New Jersey, please read our NJ Name Change FAQs post.
Finally, for detailed information on specific name change topics, check out our New Jersey Name Change Blog.
Gloucester County Name Change Lawyers
If you are able to afford an attorney, it is highly recommended that you retain one to assist with your New Jersey name change application. The procedural rules governing name change applications in the Law Division, Civil Part are complex so it is always a good idea to retain a lawyer if you are able to.
If you have questions regarding how to change your name in Gloucester County, New Jersey, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach us at 856-832-2482.