(a) A person who desires to change his or her true name may apply to the clerk of superior court of the county where the person resides and must submit all of the following information to the clerk in support of the application for a name change:
(1) The applicant's true name, county of birth, date of birth, the full name of parents as shown on birth certificate, and the name sought to be adopted.
(2) The results of a state and national criminal history record check conducted within 90 days of the date of application by the State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a Channeler approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The requirements of this subdivision shall not apply to an application to change the name of a minor less than 16 years of age.
(3) A sworn statement as to the following:
a. That the applicant is a bona fide resident of, and domiciled in, the county where the change of name is sought.
b. Whether or not the applicant has outstanding tax or child support obligations.
(b) The clerk shall instruct the applicant on the process for having fingerprints taken and submitted for the criminal history record check, including providing information on law enforcement agencies or acceptable service providers. The clerk may require the applicant to provide any other information that the clerk determines is reasonably necessary for the fair and complete review of the name change application.
(c) The clerk shall review all the information contained in the application and otherwise available to the clerk to determine whether there is good and sufficient reason to grant or to deny the name change.
(d) Except as prohibited by G.S. 101-6(c), if the clerk finds that good and sufficient reasons exist for the change of name, and the applicant has met the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, it is the clerk's duty to issue an order changing the name of the applicant from that person's true name to the name sought to be adopted. The order shall contain all of the following:
(1) The true name, the county of birth, the date of birth, the full name of parents as shown on birth certificate, and the name sought to be adopted.
(2) The clerk's summary of the information reviewed in connection with the application.
The clerk shall issue to the applicant a certificate under the clerk's hand and seal of office, stating the change made in the applicant's name, and shall also record the application and order on the docket of special proceedings in his court.
(e) The clerk shall forward the order granting the name change to:
(1) The State Registrar of Vital Statistics on a form provided by the Registrar. If the applicant was born in North Carolina, the State Registrar shall note the change of name of the individual or individuals specified in the order on the birth certificate of that individual or those individuals and shall notify the register of deeds in the county of birth. If the applicant was born in another state of the United States, the State Registrar shall forward the notice of change of name to the registration office of the state of birth. If the name change is not a matter of public record pursuant to G.S. 101-2(c), the clerk shall notify the State Registrar; however, the State Registrar shall not notify the register of deeds in the applicant's county of birth or the registration office of the state of birth.
(2) The Division of Criminal Information at the State Bureau of Investigation, which shall update its records to show the name change.
(f) If the clerk finds that good and sufficient reasons exist to deny the applicant's request for a name change, it is the clerk's duty not to issue an order changing the name of the applicant from that person's true name to the name sought to be adopted. The order denying the name change shall state the reasons for the denial. If the applicant desires to appeal the clerk's decision, the applicant must petition the resident superior court judge within 30 days of the date of the order denying the name change to request a reconsideration of the application. The reconsideration decision of the resident superior court judge is final and not subject to appeal. An unsuccessful applicant on reconsideration is subject to a waiting period of 12 months from the date of the adverse decision of the resident superior court judge before the applicant may submit another name change application. A successful applicant on reconsideration shall be granted the name change by the clerk in like manner as prescribed by subsection (d) of this section.
(g) Upon information obtained by the clerk of fraud or material misrepresentation in the application for a name change, the clerk on his or her own motion may set aside the order granting the name change after notice to the applicant and opportunity to be heard. If the clerk sets aside the name change order, the clerk shall notify the State Registrar of Vital Statistics and the Division of Criminal Information. (1891, c. 145; Rev., ss. 2149, 2150; C.S., s. 2974; 1955, c. 951, s. 4; 1957, c. 1233, s. 2; 1971, c. 444, s. 2; 2011-61, s. 8; 2011-303, s. 1; 2012-194, s. 19; 2013-42, s. 2.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014