Once your baby is born, you may decide that you don't particularly like the name you gave him at birth. While you can opt to give your baby a "Common Usage" name (nickname), the nickname cannot be used on legal documents such as his birth certificate, Social Security card and school records. There are various steps you can take to change your baby's legal name while he is still an infant. The age of your baby will determine whether or not a court order is needed in order to change his name.
Contact the State Department of Vital Records in the state for which your baby was born in. A list of all of the State Department of Vital Records offices and their contact information can be found in the Resource section of this article.
Speak with the vital records representative. Advise her that you would like to change the name on your baby's birth certificate and would like to know what time restraints are imposed by the state. Each state will have different restraints. For example, in the state of Minnesota you can easily change your baby's name within 45 days of the child's birth. In Louisiana, you are given up to 12 months to change your baby's name.
Request an "Amendment" form to change your baby's name if you are within the allotted time frame. You can request that a copy of the form be mailed to you. You can also obtain the form by visiting the vital records office in person. Some states also provide printable forms online.
Take the completed amendment form to the vital records office. Submit the amendment form and the applicable processing fee to the vital records representative. You will have to present a valid proof of ID, such as your driver's license or passport. The representative will then update your baby's birth certificate. You will likely have to pay extra fees to receive a certified copy of your baby's amended birth certificate.
Visit your local probate court to complete a "Petition of Name Change" form for your child. Submit the filing fee for your petition. You will receive a hearing date to appear in court before a judge.
Obtain a parental consent form from the other parent of the baby. The parental consent form must be signed, dated and notarised.
Bring the parental consent form to your scheduled hearing date. During the hearing, the judge will advise you of whether or not the name change for your baby is granted. He will issue his decision in the form of a "Decree."
Take a certified copy of the judge's decree to the State Department of Vital Records for the state your baby was born in. Request that the name on the baby's birth certificate be changed to reflect the new name on the decree.