Changing the name of your minor child seems like an easy process, however, many people are discouraged after completing the minor name change form only to discover an entirely different process – a Legitimation hearing is needed. Sometimes, if a minor name change form is rejected, a Special Proceeding, called a Legitimation is required.

“Legitimation proceeding” may sound complex, antiquated and intimidating, but it can actually be a fairly simple process. In many cases, when a father’s name is not included on a birth certificate or paternity has not been established by a Child Support or other Court Order, a Legitimation proceeding is needed in order to later change or include the father’s name on the birth certificate and/or to change the name of the child pursuant to North Carolina General Statute §49-10 or §49-12.

The Legitimation process starts with the filing of a Petition for Legitimation. Although a Legitimation is a court proceeding, it can be done by consent of the parties. After the proper notices are given, there will be a hearing before the Clerk of Court. The hearing is where the Petitioner (the individual or a lawyer on their behalf) presents the evidence of paternity. If the clerk finds sufficient evidence for the Petitioner, an Order of Legitimation will be issued and the petitioning parent will have all the lawful rights, privileges and obligations of a parent.

Additionally, under North Carolina General Statute §49-13, an Order of Legitimation will be sent to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to issue the child a new birth certificate. The issuing of a new birth certificate will change the child’s name and/or add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.

This information is general in nature. Each situation is unique and this information is not to be construed as applicable to every set of circumstances. The attorneys at Vernon Law Firm can address these and other family law related issues that are specifically tailored to individual needs during consultations.