Courts and Judicial Procedure

Special Proceedings


(a) Any person who desires to change his or her name, shall present a petition, duly verified, to the Court of Common Pleas sitting in the county in which the person resides. The petition shall set forth such person's name and the name he or she desires to assume.

(b) Family Court shall have jurisdiction over a change of name as part of divorce proceedings or as part of the establishment of paternity under the Uniform Parentage Act [Chapter 8 of Title 13].

(c) The common law right of any person to change his or her name is hereby abrogated as to individuals subject to the supervision of the State of Delaware Department of Correction. Such individuals may only effect a name change by petitioning the Court of Common Pleas as follows:

(1) Individuals subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction shall be prohibited from adopting any names other than their legal names or otherwise effecting name changes, except as provided in this subsection.

(2) When, based upon testimony or sworn affidavits, the Court finds that a petition for a name change of an individual subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief or gender identity, the Court may grant such petition. In any case in which an individual subject to the supervision of the Department of Correction petitions the Court of Common Pleas for a change of name, the Court shall provide notice and opportunity to oppose the name change to the Department of Correction and shall permit it to submit any appropriate documentation in support of its opposition.

(3) If an individual is granted a name change pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section, he or she must provide all names previously held or adopted, as well as his or her legal name when signing any legal document or providing information to a law-enforcement officer.

(4) The granting of any name changes pursuant to this subsection shall not restrict the Department of Correction from maintaining institutional files or otherwise referring to individuals by the names under which they became subject to the Department's supervision.

27 Del. Laws, c. 264, § 1; Code 1915, § 4657; Code 1935, § 5115; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 5901; 59 Del. Laws, c. 512, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 479, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 52, § 1.;

If the name sought to be changed under this chapter is that of a minor, the petition shall be signed by at least 1 of the minor's parents, if there is a parent living, or if both parents are dead, by the legal guardian of such minor. When the minor is over the age of 14, the petition shall also be signed by the minor.

27 Del. Laws, c. 264, § 2; Code 1915, § 4658; Code 1935, § 5116; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 5902.;

No petition for change of name under this chapter shall be granted unless it affirmatively appears that the petition or a notice thereof has been published in a newspaper published in the county in which the proceeding is had, at least once a week for 3 weeks before the petition is filed.

27 Del. Laws, c. 264, § 3; Code 1915, § 4659; Code 1935, § 5117; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 5903; 75 Del. Laws, c. 209, § 1.;

(a) Upon presentation of a petition for change of name under this chapter, and it appearing that the requirements of this chapter have been fully complied with, and there appearing no reason for not granting the petition, the prayer of the petition may be granted.

(b) If a parent of a minor files a petition under this chapter and seeks to add that parent's surname to the minor's surname either as an additional name or hyphenated with the minor's previously existing surname, there is a presumption in favor of granting the petition. A parent opposing a petition filed under this chapter has the burden to overcome the presumption by establishing by clear and convincing evidence that the totality of the following factors demonstrates that granting the petition would cause the minor more harm than benefit:

(1) The length of time that a surname has been used for or by the minor.

(2) The minor's reasonable preference for a surname.

(3) The effect of the change of the minor's surname on the preservation and development of the minor's relationship with each parent.

(4) The identification of the minor as a part of the family unit or, if applicable, multiple family units.

27 Del. Laws, c. 264, § 4; Code 1915, § 4660; Code 1935, § 5118; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 5904; 81 Del. Laws, c. 141, § 1.;

The costs of any proceeding under this chapter shall be paid by the petitioner.

27 Del. Laws, c. 264, § 5; Code 1915, § 4661; Code 1935, § 5119; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 5905.;