Name Change in Kentucky

General Information

A name is legally changed through a statutory process that begins with the filing of a Petition for Name Change. A Judge will review the Petition and, if granted, the petitioner or the petitioner’s minor child will have a new name. The person whose name was changed will be responsible for informing other relevant legal, public, and private entities of this change.

Kentucky law allows for a name change of a person residing in a Kentucky county. It does not matter where the person was born or where birth certificate was issued as long as the person is currently a Kentucky resident. Please contact a different law firm about the possibility of name change if you live in any other state, as our lawyers are only licensed in and familiar with Kentucky law concerning this topic.


People who commonly seek a name change include:

  1. Adult (18 or older), for self, simply because a name change is desired.
  2. Wife, for self, during a divorce proceeding before the final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is made (though if the proceeding is not anticipated to be lengthy, it may make more sense to request through the divorce pleadings and wait on the final Decree).
  3. Wife, for self, during or following an action for legal separation.
  4. Divorced wife, for self, who failed to include a restoration of her maiden or former name within her divorce pleadings and whose divorce is now final and her marital name intact.
  5. Person in a same sex couple, for self, to match partner’s last name (as same sex partners cannot be married in Kentucky under KRS 402.040(2).
  6. Mother, for child to take step father’s name.
  7. Mother, for child with father’s last name, if following a divorce father effectively abandons child by failing to provide required child support or exercise visitation.
  8. Mother, for child born out-of-wedlock, to any name without consent or participation of father if paternity has not been legally established (and therefore, father is not listed on child’s birth certificate. KRS 213.046.
  9. Mother, for child born out-of-wedlock, to father’s last name, whether or not paternity has been legally established.
  10. Father, for child born out-of-wedlock, to father’s last name, if child currently has mother’s last name.

While it is possible to simply start using a new name without taking any further action, the statutory name change procedures are intended “to insure that a permanent record is made of the name change.” Burke v. Hammonds, 586 S.W. 2d 307 (Ky. Ct. App. 1979). The legal, public, and private entities that one would want to know of and use the new name generally require a permanent, legal record of name change which only occurs after the Petition for Name Change is granted by the reviewing Court.

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Services Offered and Cost

Name Change for Self

Legal fees: $300 flat fee

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Name Change for Child