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NAME CHANGE LAW


Name Change Law and Procedures

SUMMARY OF NEW MEXICO NAME CHANGE LAW

§ 40-8-1. Change of name; petition and order


Any resident of this state over the age of fourteen years may, upon petition to the district court of the district in which the petitioner resides and upon filing the notice required with proof of publication, if no sufficient cause is shown to the contrary, have his name changed or established by order of the court. The parent or guardian of any resident of this state under the age of fourteen years may, upon petition to the district court of the district in which the petitioner resides and upon filing the notice required with proof of publication, if no sufficient cause is shown to the contrary, have the name of his child or ward changed or established by order of the court. When residents under the age of fourteen years petition the district court for a name change, the required notice shall include notice to both legal parents. The order shall be entered at length upon the record of the court, and a copy of the order, duly certified, shall be filed in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the person resides. The county clerk shall record the same in a record book to be kept by him for that purpose.

In the Matter of the Petition of Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon for Change of Name, Petitioner-Appeland
No. 25, 202
Dec., 22, 2004.

Background: Petitioner sought a name change, with "Variable" as the proposed name. The District Court, Bernalillo County, Linda M. Vanzi, D.J., denied the petition. Petitioner appealed.

Holdings: The Court of Appeals, A. Joseph Alarid, J., held that:
  1. as a matter of first impression, a substantial reason to deny a name change may exist when there is factual proof of an unworthy motive, the possibility of fraud on the public, or that the name is bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste;

  2. District Court's unsupported generalizations did not constitute sufficient cause for denying the petition; and

  3. petitioner would be restricted to using the word "Variable" as his name, as opposed to having the power to vary his name at will.


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