(a) A person who wishes, for good cause shown, to change his or her name must file an application before the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the person lives, after giving 10 days' notice of the application by publication at the courthouse door.
(b) The publication in subsection (a) of this section is not required if the applicant:
(1) Is a participant in the address confidentiality program under Chapter 15C of the General Statutes; or
(2) Provides evidence that the applicant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual offense, or stalking. This evidence may include any of the following:
a. Law enforcement, court, or other federal or state agency records or files.
b. Documentation from a program receiving funds from the Domestic Violence Center Fund, if the applicant is alleged to be a victim of domestic violence.
(c) The application and the court's entire record of the proceedings relating to the applicant's name change is not a matter of public record where the applicant has complied with subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section. Records qualifying under this subsection shall be maintained separately from other records, shall be withheld from public inspection, and may be examined only by order of the court or with the written consent of the applicant.
(d) An application to change the name of a minor child may be filed by the child's parent or parents, guardian appointed under Article 6 of Chapter 35A of the General Statutes, or guardian ad litem appointed under Rule 17 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, and this application may be joined in the application for a change of name filed by the parent or parents. A change of parentage or the addition of information relating to parentage on the birth certificate of any person is governed by G.S. 130A-118. An application to change the name of a minor child may not be filed without the consent of both parents if both parents are living, unless one of the following applies:
(1) A minor who has reached the age of 16 may file an application to change his or her name with the consent of the parent who has custody of the minor and has supported the minor, without the necessity of obtaining the consent of the other parent, when the clerk of court is satisfied that the other parent has abandoned the minor.
(2) A parent may file an application on behalf of the minor without the consent of the other parent if the other parent has abandoned the minor child.
(3) A parent may file an application on behalf of the minor without the consent of the other parent if the other parent has been convicted of any of the following offenses against the minor or a sibling of the minor:
a. Felonious or misdemeanor child abuse.
b. Taking indecent liberties with a minor in violation of G.S. 14-202.1.
c. Rape or any other sex offense in violation of Article 7A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.
d. Incest in violation of G.S. 14-178.
e. Assault, communicating a threat, or any other crime of violence.
For purposes of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, abandonment may be shown by filing a copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction adjudicating that parent's abandonment of the minor. If a court of competent jurisdiction has not declared the minor to be an abandoned child, the clerk, on 10 days' written notice by registered or certified mail, directed to the last known address of the parent alleged to have abandoned the child, may determine whether the parent has abandoned the child. If the parent denies that the parent abandoned the child, this issue of fact shall be transferred and determined as provided in G.S. 1-301.2. If abandonment is determined, the consent of the parent is not required. Upon final determination of this issue of fact the proceeding shall be transferred back to the special proceedings docket for further action by the clerk. A parent who files an application on behalf of a minor pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall submit proof of the other parent's conviction to the clerk at the time of filing. (1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2147; C.S., s. 2971; 1947, c. 115; 1953, c. 678; 1955, c. 951, s. 3; 1957, c. 1442; 1959, c. 1161, s. 7; 1971, c. 444, s. 1; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.2(f); 1999-216, s. 13; 2007-116, s. 1; 2013-42, s. 1.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014