Obtaining a Court Order for Birth Certificates

A person may change their name for any reason unless it is for illegal purposes or interferes with the rights of others. They must petition a court for this change.

A parent may change the name of their child born in Maryland one time within the first year. After that time, they must petition a court for the change.

A court order is not required to change a sex designation. A court order is required if a name change is being requested at the same time as a sex change designation.

A Petition for Change of Name is filed in the Circuit Court of the jurisdiction in which you live. 
  • You do not need to hire a lawyer to petition for a change of name or gender change. 
  • There are different forms for adult and child name changes. 
  • All petitions require a notice and certificate of publication (some jurisdictions may waive or arrange for this publication). 
  • The court will schedule a hearing if someone objects to the name change or if the court has any questions about your petition. 
  • If the name change raises no issues, a judge will sign a Decree for Change of Name.

Types of Court-Ordered Changes:
For Help with Obtaining Court Orders:

There are two programs that can help:
  • The walk-in Family Law Self-Help Centers
    • Walk-in center hours vary, but are available in all Circuit Court locations.
  • The statewide legal help call center called the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center (MCSHC). 
    • ​​​​You can call 410-260-1392 or chat live with an attorney at the MCSHC Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can reach self-help services at: www.mdcourts.gov/selfhelp​