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Name Change

Information on this web page is general in nature. Descriptions of laws and court procedures are abbreviated. This information is not intended as legal advice. If you do not understand this information or if you need legal advice you should see an attorney.

Iowa Law Overview

In Iowa, there are procedures established for legally changing a name for an adult or for a child. Forms are available free of charge on this website.

I am an adult, how do I change my name?

There are two ways for you to change your name:

As part of a divorce case. If you are seeking a name change as part of a pending divorce, include your request for name change in your Petition (if your are petitioner), or in your Answer (if you are respondent), and the court can include the change in the final decree.  If you are changing your name as part of a divorce proceeding, you can only change your name back to either (1) the name on your birth certificate or (2) the name you had immediately prior to the marriage.  See Iowa Code section 598.37.

Name change petition. You can file a Petition for Change of Name in the district court. See Iowa Code chapter 674.

You will need to electronically file the Petition for Change of Name and pay the $185 filing fee. You must file electronically unless you get permission from the court to file in paper.  

You must include the following information in the Petition for Change of Name:

  • Your current name

  • Your county of residence

  • A description including height, weight, hair and eye color, race, sex, and place and date of birth

  • Place of residence(s) for the past five years

  • Reason for request

  • A legal description of all real estate in Iowa owned or in which you have any legal interest

  • The new name you are requesting to take

You must attach a certified copy of your birth certificate to the petition. If your birth certificate is not available, you must explain why it is not available and provide another form of identification. If you are married, the petition must be served on your spouse as well.  There may be an additional cost for having the petition served on your spouse.  

How do I change a minor child's name?

The procedure for minor children is similar to the process for adults.  There are two ways to change a minor child’s name.

As part of a divorce case or custody case. If there is a pending divorce or custody action, the name change of a minor child can be part of the divorce or custody proceeding.  Include your request for name change in your Petition (if you are the petitioner) or Response (if you are the respondent) and the court can include the change in the final decree.  See Iowa Code section 598.37. 

Name change petition. You will need to electronically file the Petition for Change of Name of Minor Child and pay the $185 filing fee. You must file electronically unless you get permission from the court to file in paper.  

You must include the following information in the Petition for Change of Name of Minor Child:

  •  The child's current name

  • The child’s county of residence

  • Your name and relationship to the child

  • A description of the child including height, weight, hair and eye color, race, sex, and place and date of birth

  • Place of residence(s) for the past five years

  • Reason for request

  • The new name you are requesting for the minor child

You must attach a certified copy of the minor child's birth certificate to the petition.If the child's birth certificate is not available, you must explain why it is not available and provide another form of identification.

If the child is under fourteen, both parents as stated on the birth certificate must file their consent to the name change.  If one parent does not consent to the name change, the court will set a hearing.  At the hearing, the court may waive the need for consent from both parents if the court finds one of the following:  

  • That the parent has abandoned the child

  • That the parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child or to financially aid in the child’s birth and has failed to do so without good cause

  • That the parent does not object to the name change after having been given due and proper notice 

If the child is fourteen or older, the petition must include the child’s written consent to the name change  

After the order is issued, will the name change be reflected on my birth certificate/the birth certificate of my children? 

When the court grants a change of name, the clerk of court will provide a certified copy of the Decree of Name Change to you, and the clerk will also mail an abstract of the Decree to be filed with the Iowa Department of Health, requiring the change of name to be made on the birth certificate.  See Iowa Code chapter 674.

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