An Act Concerning Name Changes for Minors
Sec. 1. 18-C MRSA §1-701, as enacted by PL 2017, c. 402, Pt. A, §2 and affected by Pt. F, §1 and PL 2019, c. 417, Pt. B, §14, is amended to read:
§ 1-701. Petition Process to change name
For purposes of this section, "parent" means a person who, with respect to the minor, has established parentage pursuant to Title 19-A, chapter 61 and whose parental rights have not been terminated.
Upon proof of service of such notice and after providing an opportunity for those entitled to notice to respond to the petition, the court may change the minor's name if it finds good cause. The court may change a minor's name by agreement of all the parties without a determination of good cause.
Sec. 2. 19-A MRSA §1653, sub-§2, ¶F is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 19-A MRSA §1843, sub-§3, as enacted by PL 2015, c. 296, Pt. A, §1 and affected by Pt. D, §1, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
This bill clarifies and consolidates in a single section of Maine law the process and standards for changing the names of adults and minors. The current process to change the name of an adult is for the adult to file a petition in the Probate Court in the county where the adult lives, except when an adult is petitioning to change that adult's name pursuant to a divorce proceeding, and this bill does not change that. This bill provides that a parent or guardian of a minor may file a name change petition for the minor in the Probate Court in the county in which the minor lives, unless the District Court has exclusive jurisdiction regarding the minor pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 4, section 152, subsection 5-A, in which case the petition must be filed in District Court. The bill also permits a parent or guardian to request to change the minor's name as part of a proceeding concerning parentage or other parental rights with respect to the minor in the District Court. A separate petition is not required in these cases.
This bill requires the parent or legal guardian who requests a name change for the minor in District Court to provide notice pursuant to the applicable rules of procedure to any other parent, any guardian and any person or agency with legal custody of the minor and to the minor if the minor is 14 years of age or older. The court must provide an opportunity for those entitled to notice to be heard and may change the name of the minor if the court finds that the change is in the best interest of the minor.
Because this bill consolidates the provisions governing the process for change of name, except in the case of annulment, divorce or adoption, it revises the provision in the Maine Parentage Act providing for change of name of a minor on determination of parentage.