The guide is meant to help someone who is not represented by a lawyer understand the general rules and procedures of a civil court case in Louisiana. It is not a complete guide to the law nor does it discuss every issue or aspect of the law that may affect your case.
This information is not meant to replace State laws or Court Rules. The purpose of this guide is to give general information and make it easier to represent yourself in court. You have a right to represent yourself in court, but it comes with the responsibility to follow certain court rules and procedures.
The guide will help you change the name of someone over the age of 18 by:
Answering questions on how to change an adult's name in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section below;
Preparing forms for you to change an adult's name in the "Forms Available" section;
Explaining the steps for changing a name in the "Instructions" section attached to the form;
Giving you more information about how to proceed with your case while delaying court fees in the "Related Links" section; and
Helping you find a lawyer in the "Find an Attorney/Community Resources" section.
*In order to file with the Clerk of Court, forms must be printed out and filled in completely. If you are unable to do this, or do not have access to a printer, you can visit your local library for assistance. For more assistance locating a library, click here.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
CHANGING AN ADULT'S NAME IN LOUISIANA
1. Do I have to be a Louisiana Resident to change my name?
Only individuals who are residents of Louisiana can petition to have their name changed in the state. You must have attained the age of 18 in Louisiana to petition or request a name change. If you are seeking to change the name of your child under the age of 18, please click here.
2. Where do I go to petition to have my name changed in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, there are three locations where a person may go to petition for a name change. You must go to the district court of one of the following:
1. The parish of your residence,
2. The parish of your birth (if you were born in the state of Louisiana), or
3. The parish of venue for the Vital Records Registry (located in the Orleans Parish)
If you are in jail, you need to petition the district court of the parish in which you were sentenced. However, if you were convicted of a felony, you cannot petition for a name change. Only after you have completed your sentence for your felony conviction, including imprisonment and/or probation or parole, may you petition the district court for a name change.
3. How do I change my name on my birth certificate?
If you want to change your name on your original birth certificate from the state of Louisiana, you must send a certified copy of your final judgment to the Vital Records Registry along with an Application to Amend a Certificate of Birth and the appropriate fee. As of April 2011, the fee for processing the application was $18 with an additional $9 fee for a copy of the new birth certificate. This fee is subject to change.
Louisiana Vital Records Registry
Attn: Document Alteration Section
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160
4. Are there any restrictions when changing my name?
In Louisiana, a person who has been convicted of a felony cannot petition for a name change until they have served their sentence. A "sentence" includes: imprisonment and or probation or parole. The district court reserves the right to deny your petition for name change after reviewing the petition.
5. How can I change my children’s names?
Please click here for information on how to change the name of a minor in Louisiana.
6. How do I change back to my maiden name after a divorce?
You can file the petition above, but it is simpler to ask the Judge to approve this request during divorce proceedings (if still applicable).
7. How much does it cost to petition the court to change a name? Where should I file the petition to change my name?
The Terrebonne Parish Clerk of Court's office is at 7856 Main Street in Houma. The office is open 8:30am-4:30pm. For more information, including fees, you can call the office at (985) 868-5660. Please note that the Clerk of Court does not “notarize” documents, and you may need to visit a Notary Public beforehand.
8. What if I cannot afford to pay the filing fee?
Article 5181 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides: “an individual who is unable to pay the costs of court because of his poverty and lack of means may prosecute or defend a judicial proceeding in any trial or appellate court without paying the costs in advance or as they accrue or furnishing security therefore.”
If you cannot afford the filing fee, then you can file an affidavit with the court to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Not only must you swear and prove to the court that you cannot afford to pay the filing fees, but you will also need a witness who knows you to swear to the court that you can’t afford to pay the filing fees. The Louisiana Supreme Court provides an IFP affidavit for use in the district courts. If allowed to proceed IFP, you will not have to pay the filing fees in advance. The fees will be assessed by the judge at the end of the case though, and if you lose your case the court may assess the fees to you.
NOTE THAT AN APPROVED IFP APPLICATION DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO PAY THE FEES.
An approved IFP application means that your case can move forward before you pay the fees, but that you will still have to pay them at a later date.
If you have little or no income, it is likely that you qualify for either a no-fee or low-fee attorney from one of the legal aid organizations in the state. Please click here for more information.