A Guide To Procedures
In Change Of Name Proceedings

735 ILCS 5/21-1 et seq.
Richard J. Daley Center
Room 1202
50 W. Washington Street (Clark and Randolph Streets)
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Closed on legal and court holidays

Petitions for Change of Name may also be filed in any of the five (5) suburban court locations (Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview or Markham). This guide pertains to cases filed in the Daley Center. Procedures, such as filing or scheduling a hearing, may differ in the other court locations. Please consult the court location where you intend to file for more information.

a. Court Filing Fee $319.00
b. Certified Copy Fee 9.00 per copy
(Fees payable to the Clerk of Court may be made in cash or by certified check or money order payable to Clerk of Court.)
c. Publication Fee Varies depending on newspaper selected
d. Sheriff’s Summons $50.00 plus mileage, if required
e. Additional fees may be charged to change records, such as birth certificates (currently $15.00)
http://www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords/correctioninfo.htm

Pre-printed forms to file for a change of name are available from the Clerk of Court. The forms may be downloaded and filled out on a computer. The form numbers currently in use are CCCH 0039 (Petition for Change of Name) and CCCH 0038 (Judgment (Change of Name)).

NOTE: The court is in the process of re-writing these forms. Copies of the new forms will be available on this website as soon as they are required.

The use of pre-printed forms is not required; persons seeking a name change may draft their own Petition for Change of Name (see Section VII).

Free assistance in completing the forms is available at the Chancery Division Help-Desk. The Help-Desk is located in Room 1303 of the Daley Center and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Help Desk is staffed by trained employees or volunteer lawyers affiliated with several legal service organizations. They are not employees of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to attend or participate in court proceedings should contact the Court Disability Coordinator.

 

  1. Any person who has been a resident of the State of Illinois for six months and is a resident of Cook County may petition the court for a change of name.

     

  2. The person filing the Petition for Change of Name may also add requests to change the name(s) of a spouse, adult unmarried children and minor children. If an adult unmarried child is named in the petition, he or she must consent to the change of name.

     

  3. A Petition to Change the Name of a minor child also may be filed by a guardian having legal custody of the child or by a person or persons with whom the child has resided for three years. In addition to the proof necessary to change the child’s name, as stated in the following paragraph, such person must establish that the child has been recognized and known as an adopted child of that family.

     

  4. The statute requires the petitioner(s) seeking to change the name of a minor child to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the change is in the best interest of the child. In order to make that determination, the judge is required to consider: 1) the wishes of the child’s parents and any person who has physical custody of the child; 2) the wishes of the child and the reasons for those wishes; 3) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents or persons having physical custody of the child, as well as step-parents, siblings, step-siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest; and 4) the child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
A petitioner who chooses to draft a Petition for Change of Name instead of filing the pre-printed form is advised to make sure the pleading contains the following: a proper caption, the name held, the name sought to be assumed, the petitioner’s residence, the length of time the petitioner has resided in Illinois, and the state or country of the petitioner’s birth.

The petition must be signed by the petitioner, or in the case of a minor, by a parent or guardian having legal custody of the minor.

The contents of the petition must be verified by the affidavit of a third person. This person must be someone other than one of the parties either seeking to change his or her name or the name of another.

All petitions must be accompanied by a completed County Division Civil Action Cover Sheet (Form CCL 0520). No filing will be accepted if this form is missing.

At the time the Petition for a Change of Name is filed, the Clerk of Court’s computer system will assign the case to a judge’s calendar for a hearing. The petitioner must then schedule a date and time for the case to be heard with a clerk in Room 1202. The date that is selected must be at least seven (7) weeks after the filing date and at the time the motion call is conducted for that assigned calendar. The petitioner must record the date, time, courtroom number and court calendar in order to properly publish or serve the required notice (see Section IX).

In those cases where no notice is required (both parents or sole surviving parent seeking to change a child’s name), every effort will be made to have the case heard on the date of filing. However, a judge’s calendar may be too busy to accommodate a hearing on that date, and the petitioner will be required to return for the hearing. Filing this type of case early in the day provides the best assurance that there will be no additional appearance in court.

After the hearing has been scheduled, the petitioner must cause the proper notice to be published or served.

Petitioners must have the notice published in a newspaper that is published in Cook County. While the court does not require or prefer any particular publication, petitioners should be aware that The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is a newspaper that regularly publishes legal notices and maintains an office in Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center.

If a petitioner is required to personally notify anyone, such as an absent or nonconsenting parent, he or she must make arrangements to serve such notice. If the person to be notified is a resident of Illinois, notice must be served by a deputy sheriff or a special process server appointed by the court. If the person resides outside Illinois, the petitioner must comply with 735 ILCS5/21-104. The notice must contain a copy of the petition, the date, time, courthouse address (Richard J. Daley Center is located at 50 W. Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois), and courtroom number. The notice must also advise the individual that he or she has a right to appear and be heard at that date and time.

If the absent parent resides outside the State of Illinois, persons contemplating initiating a change of name proceeding must consult 735 ILCS 5/21-104 for the manner that notice of the hearing can be served.

Other requirements are as follows:

CASES NOT INVOLVING MINOR CHILDREN

Notice of the hearing on a Petition for Change of Name must be published for three (3) consecutive weeks commencing not less than six (6) weeks before the date of hearing in a newspaper published in Cook County, Illinois.

CASES INVOLVING MINOR CHILDREN

If both parents, or the sole surviving parent, sign the Petition for Change of Name, there is no requirement that notice be given to any other person or the general public by publication. Such cases may be heard on the date of filing, if the assigned judge’s schedule permits.

If only one parent, guardian, or authorized person signs the Petition for Change of Name, reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard must be given to all absent parents whose parental rights have not been terminated. The Change of Name statute does not specify the manner or form in which this required notice is to be given. Current practice allows sending notice by regular mail to the last known address in Illinois of the absent parent or parents. The petitioner must establish proof of mailing. A suggested format for such notice will shortly be available from the Clerk of Court. Warning: This practice has never been the subject of a court challenge.

On the date of the hearing, persons attending the court hearing should allow sufficient commuting time to arrive at the courthouse at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing. Persons who do not live or work in the downtown area should consider taking public transportation to the Richard J. Daley Center.

Petitioners should make certain to bring a copy of the petition showing the Clerk’s filing stamp and case number, proof that any required publication occurred, that any required notice was served, if applicable, and a completed copy of the Judgment Order to be entered. (CCCH 0038 Judgment (Change of Name)).

If seeking to change the name of a minor child, petitioners should be prepared to present documents and answer the judge’s questions to establish that it is the child’s best interest.

On arriving to the courtroom, if court is not in session, petitioners should advise the courtroom clerk they are there for a change of name case and be prepared to show the petition to the clerk. If court is in session, petitioners should not approach the clerk and instead take a seat in the courtroom and wait for the case to be called. If that occurs, petitioners should answer “Here” and approach the judge with their papers. If the case is not called, at the first recess, petitioners should approach the clerk to ask for instructions.

When appearing before the judge, petitioners will be asked to take an oath or provide an affirmation that they will be truthful. The judge will, in most instances, conduct a hearing by asking questions and asking for information that may be in documents that the petitioners have brought. If petitioners wish to add any information, the judge will normally allow the opportunity to do so. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will either grant or deny the petition.

If the petition is granted, petitioners must give the Judgment for Name Change to the judge for signature. If the judge does not grant the petition, petitioners are required to complete a court order which states that “The Petition for Change of Name is Denied.” Blank forms for these orders can be obtained from the courtroom clerk. Petitioners may appeal a decision denying a petition by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the judge’s decision.

If the judge has granted the petition, petitioners will need certified copies of the Name Change Judgment in order to notify governmental agencies, schools, employers and others with whom they have a relationship that is based upon their name. After the judgment is entered, certified copies can be obtained in Room 1202. There is a $9.00 charge for each copy. Most people find it more convenient to obtain copies on the day the judgment is entered.

Persons who intend to obtain copies must advise the courtroom clerk, and one or more of the copies will be marked “O.K. to Certify.” Marked copies should be taken to Room 1202 in order to obtain the copies needed.

The following is a partial list of entities that may require a certified copy of the Name Change Judgment to change a name on records. The list is not complete or exhaustive; also, it may not be necessary to notify some of these organizations. There may be additional entities not listed that will require a copy.

  • Churches
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Employer
  • Financial Institutions
  • Governmental Agencies providing services to you or your family Bureau of Vital Statistics (Change Birth Record)
  • Homeland Security
  • Insurance Companies
  • Landlord/Mortgage Company
  • Medical Providers
  • Passport Office
  • Retirement Plans
  • Schools
  • Secretary of State (Driver's License, Identification Card)
  • Social Security Administration
  • Utilities
  • Voter Registration
Copyright 2014 by Circuit Court of Cook County