Can The Courts Turn Down A Legal Name Change Petition?

The short answer is, yes. 

It’s very rare for a court to deny a name change petition. In 2011, the California Appellate Court denied a name change petition to Robert Edward Forchion, Jr. 

The judge’s decision set out to set some specific limits in regard to a name change. It’s fascinating to find that although rare, name change petitions can occasionally be denied. There was a huge impact in all 50 states due to the reference to a decision that was made in the state of New Jersey. 

The petitioner was denied his request for a name change. He wanted to take the name of It was his website, it was his passion, and it was his lifelong focus. Forchion had already earned himself quite the name in the marijuana industry. He was active as an advocate of the legalization of medicinal marijuana use. He’d long been at the forefront of the efforts for a long time. Per the summary, the court chose to deny the Forchion Name Change for 3 main reasons:

It would cause confusion to grant the petition.

Granting the petition may aid in the advertising of the website and subtly suggest that people break the law.

Given the prior decision in the state of New Jersey, California should give consideration to the denial in New Jersey and not allow for the name change. 

If you have the time, you may wish to read the background that is cited in California’s Name Change Petition Appeal. This case has an unusual back-story that has some twists and turns. If you’re considering a name change, you may wonder what the causes would be that would cause the courts to deny the name change petition. If your choice of a new name may be controversial, the consideration may lead you to do some research and this case may be a good place to start.. 

Still, Forchion’s case is an exception and it’s far from the rule. Almost all adult name change petitions, and most children’s if done properly, are approved.

Nearly every state approves name change petitions so why would this particular case be denied? There are thousands of name change petitions at present in the courts and they are simply awaiting a decision. Statistically speaking, very few of these current petitions will be denied. However, there are occasionally reasons that a name change petition may be denied. See Cal. Civ. Cd. §1275-1279.6. A judge may choose to grant or deny any petition. 

Again, the Forchion case had several reasons that it was denied. If you wish to change your name to something controversial, you may not want to spend the money on the filing fees without first taking the time to google the new name you’re considering. You’re probably going to be denied if you choose a new name like “Let’s Rob a Bank” or if you try to change your name to a celebrity name to cash in on that fame. 

If your name doesn’t suit you or isn’t the one you want for your future, you may wish to change it and find the perfect name. There are many excellent reasons to change your name. There is seldom an issue in getting these name changes through the court systems. Based upon reasonable requests, properly prepared, there is seldom a denial of a name change. 

It’s rare to find someone who has had a denial for a name change. However, if your new name would be likely to cause confusion, fraud  or harm, or if your new name would be encouraging others to break the law or suggesting such a thing, it’s likely going to be denied. Focus on the reason for your name change and find a new name that you love. If you have a name change specialist help you, you should have no issues in getting your name legally changed.