The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service 800-362-9082 for additional assistance.
- Petitioner / Petitioning Parent - the person seeking his/her name to be changed or parent seeking to have a child's name changed.
- Non-Petitioning Parent - the parent not filing a name change petition for his/her child.
- Petition - a written statement of facts by the Petitioner or Petitioning Parent asking the Court to change his/her name or a child's name.
- Service of Process - a legal term used to describe the act of giving notice of a lawsuit or court hearing to another person.
- Proof of Service - a document filed with the Court as evidence to show that legal documents were successfully delivered to the Non-Petitioning Parent. This is also termed as return of service or return of process.
- Affidavit of Due Diligence / Non-Service - a sworn statement from the Sheriff's Department/Private process server proving reasonable efforts were made in attempting to personally serve the Non-Petitioning Parent.
Information about who can file a name change, where to file a name change, filing fee, service requirements, etc. can be found on this FAQ's for Name Changes and Confidential Name Changes Guide (PDF).
Who may petition?
An individual who is age 14 or older may sign and file a petition (request) for name change on their own.
If the individual is age 13 or younger, one or both parents must sign and file a petition to change the child's name. If only one parent signs the petition, then that parent may be required to have the other parent personally served with the petition.
If you hold a professional license, you may need approval of your licensing board or commission to change your name, if the name change is for a reason other than marriage or divorce. Contact the appropriate board to learn its requirements.
A person required to register as a sex offender under Chapter 301.45, Wis. Stats. (Class H felony) may not change his or her name. Sec. 301.47(2)(a), Wis. Stats. Please note that juvenile sex offenders may also be subject to Chapter 301.45.