- Clerk of Courts
- Name Change
The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service 800-362-9082 for additional assistance.
- Petitioner / Petitioning Parent - the person seeking his/her name to be changed or parent seeking to have a child's name changed.
- Non-Petitioning Parent - the parent not filing a name change petition for his/her child.
- Petition - a written statement of facts by the Petitioner or Petitioning Parent asking the Court to change his/her name or a child's name.
- Service of Process - a legal term used to describe the act of giving notice of a lawsuit or court hearing to another person.
- Proof of Service - a document filed with the Court as evidence to show that legal documents were successfully delivered to the Non-Petitioning Parent. This is also termed as return of service or return of process.
- Affidavit of Due Diligence / Non-Service - a sworn statement from the Sheriff's Department/Private process server proving reasonable efforts were made in attempting to personally serve the Non-Petitioning Parent.
Information about who can file a name change, where to file a name change, filing fee, service requirements, etc. can be found on this FAQ's for Name Changes and Confidential Name Changes Guide (PDF).
Who may petition?
An individual who is age 14 or older may sign and file a petition (request) for name change on their own.
If the individual is age 13 or younger, one or both parents must sign and file a petition to change the child's name. If only one parent signs the petition, then that parent may be required to have the other parent personally served with the petition.
If you hold a professional license, you may need approval of your licensing board or commission to change your name, if the name change is for a reason other than marriage or divorce. Contact the appropriate board to learn its requirements.
A person required to register as a sex offender under Chapter 301.45, Wis. Stats. (Class H felony) may not change his or her name. Sec. 301.47(2)(a), Wis. Stats. Please note that juvenile sex offenders may also be subject to Chapter 301.45.
Any eligible resident of Wisconsin, whether a minor or an adult, may ask the court in the county where they reside to have his or her name changed.
Types of Name Change Petitions
There are five types of name change petitions:
Adult/Minor 14 Years or Older
- Petition for Name Change for Adult or Minor 14 or Older - View forms and additional information regarding name change for adult and minor child 14 years of age or older
- Petition for Confidential Name Change for Adult or Minor 14 or older - View forms and additional information regarding confidential name change for adult or minor child 14 years of age or older
Minor Child 13 Years of Age and Younger
- Petition for Name Change for Minor Child Under 14 - Parent without Criminal Conviction - View forms and additional information regarding name change for minor child 13 years of age and younger - parent without criminal conviction
- Petition for Confidential Name Change for Minor Child Under 14 - View forms and additional information regarding confidential name change for minor child 13 years of age and younger
- Petition for Name Change for Minor Child Under 14 - Parent with Criminal Conviction - View forms and additional information regarding name change for minor child 13 years of age and younger - parent with criminal conviction
Forms and Instructions
Forms to commence a court action are available at the Oconto County Clerk of Courts, Oconto County Courthouse, 301 Washington Street, Building C, Oconto, Wisconsin 54153. The State of Wisconsin has forms and instructions for name changes available online.
- Scroll to the middle of the page, click on "View all name change forms."
- Fees to be paid by the Petitioner before the court hearing is held:
- Clerk of Courts Filing Fee: $164.50
- Publication: To be determined by the local newspaper
- Service of Process: To be determined by the process server/sheriff's department
- Fees to be paid by the Petitioner after the court hearing is held:
- Certified copy of the Order for Name Change: $7.50 per copy payable to Oconto County Clerk of Courts
- Register of Deeds recording fee: $30 payable to Register of Deeds
- Bureau of Vital Records fee: $10 plus additional fees for certified copy(s) of birth certificate payable to State of Wis. Vital Records
Please note fees may change according to statute without notice.
Obtain Court Hearing Date
A court hearing date must be obtained from the Oconto County Circuit Court Office, 301 Washington Street, Building C, Oconto, WI prior to filing the documents with the Oconto County Clerk of Courts Office. Bring the documents to the Oconto County Circuit Court Office for the judicial assistant to schedule a court hearing and have a Circuit Court Judge sign the applicable notice and order.
Completed filing documents are to be returned to the Oconto County Clerk of Courts, 301 Washington Street, Building C, Oconto, WI to create a court case and collect a filing fee from the Petitioner.
- The original filing documents are kept by the Oconto County Clerk of Courts.
- Authenticated copies of the filing documents are provided to the Petitioner for publication and/or service of process.
The petition for name change (other than a petition for confidential name change) must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper prior to the court's hearing date.
- Contact the Oconto County Reporter for information on publication and fees to publish the legal notice.
- Legals@ocontocountyreporter.com or call 888-774-7744 and press the prompt for legal ads.
- After publication, the newspaper will send (usually by email) an Affidavit of Publication to the Petitioner. It is the responsibility of the Petitioner to provide the Affidavit of Publication to the Court prior to the commencement of the scheduled name change hearing if not previously filed with the Oconto County Clerk of Courts.
- A printed copy of the Affidavit of Publication is required for filing.
- The Court will not proceed with the name change hearing without proof of publication.
Service of Process
There is an additional service requirement for filing on behalf of a minor child under 14 - Parent without Criminal Conviction whose paternity has been established.
- If the other parent is signing the petition as a Co-Petitioner, no service is required.
- If the other parent is on the birth certificate or has been named a parent through a court process (adoption, paternity action) and is not signing the Petition as a Co-Petitioner, it is the petitioning party's responsibility to have the other parent personally served with the filing documents and pay any service fees.
- Personal service can be obtained by:
- Sheriff's Department in the county the other parent resides;
- Private process service in the location the other parent resides; or
- Admission of Service signed by the other parent.
- Personal service can be obtained by:
- Petitioner is responsible to file proof of service with the Oconto County Clerk of Courts prior to the commencement of the scheduled name change hearing.
- The Court will not proceed with the name change hearing without proof of service.
Recording a Name Change
Immediately following the name change hearing, you will be directed to the Oconto County Clerk of Court's Office (where you originally filed your case) to complete the Report of Name Change form and pay the appropriate recording fees.
- State of Wisconsin Bureau of Vital Records
- Complete Report of Name Change form (F-5021)
- Pursuant to sec. 786.36(2m) Wis. Stats., if the person was born or married in Wisconsin, the Clerk of Courts Office must also send to the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Vital Statistics (State Registrar) a Report of Legal Name Change so that the records kept by the State Registrar can be amended to reflect the name change. The Clerk of Courts Office will provide you the form to complete.
- This form also gives you an opportunity to purchase copies of your birth or marriage certificate if you are changing your name on the original document. Fees include:
- $10 to change a birth certificate
- $10 to change a marriage certificate
- $20 for a certified copy of the amended birth certificate and $3 for each additional copy of the amended birth certificate issued at the same time as the first.
- $20 for a certified copy of the amended marriage certificate and $3 for each additional copy of the amended marriage certificate issued at the same time as the first.
- The Oconto Clerk of Court's Office will send the Report of Legal Name Change form (F-5021) to the State Registrar with your check for appropriate payment.
- Upon making the name change to the birth record, marriage record, or both, the State Registrar will mail a copy(s) of the amended birth and/or marriage certificate if appropriate fees are paid.
- Complete Report of Name Change form (F-5021)
- Register of Deeds
- The Register of Deeds Office must be informed of the name change, pursuant to sec. 786.36(2) Wis. Stats. A certified copy of the Order for Name Change must be purchased from the Clerk of Courts Office and delivered to the Oconto County Register of Deeds for recording.
- A $30 fee is to be paid to the Oconto County Register of Deeds to record the name change.
- Other Agencies, Departments, etc.
- It is recommended additional certified copies of the Order for Name Change be purchased to notify the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc. of the name change.
Payment Methods for Recording Fees
Certified copy fees and recording fees are paid to separate entities. Below are the payment methods accepted by each entity. If the proper payment method is not used, it will delay the registration of the name change.
The following payment methods are accepted:
- Oconto County Clerk of Courts- certified copies of Order for Name Change
- Check or money order payable to Oconto County Clerk of Courts; or
- Debit or credit card (additional service fees apply when paying with card)
- State of Wisconsin Vital Records- change your name on the birth or marriage certificate and certified copies of the birth or marriage certificate
- Check or money order payable to State of Wis. Vital Records
- Oconto County Register of Deeds- recording fee
- Cash; or
- Check or money order payable to Oconto County Register of Deeds
View Basic Steps to Handling a Name Change.
If you have questions regarding the name change process please call 920-834-6857.