Name Change for Minor In Delaware
Sec. 5901. Petition for change of name.
(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.
Sec. 5902. Requirements for minor's petitions.
If the name sought to be changed under this chapter is that of a minor, the petition shall be signed by at least one 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.
Sec. 5903. Publication of petition prior to filing.
No petition for change of name under this chapter shall be granted unless it affirmatively appears that the petition has been published in a newspaper published in the county in which the proceedings is had, at least once a week for 3 weeks before the petition is filed.
Sec. 5904. Determination by Court.
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.
Sec. 5905. Costs.
The costs of any proceeding under this chapter shall be paid by the petitioner.
(b) 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.
Rule 81. Petitions for change of name.
(a) a petition which seeks a change of name for a minor shall be signed by at least one 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 fourteen, the petition shall also be signed by the minor.
(b) . . .
(c) If the petition is signed by only one parent, it shall be served, before presentation, upon the parent who did not join in the petition. If personal service cannot be made, substituted service shall be made as the Court directs.
Under the law as it exists in this Court of statutory jurisdiction as set forth above, the Court of Common Pleas has clearly adopted the best interests of the child's standard in considering Name Change Petitions.
See, e.g., In Re; Change of Name Jacob T. Walter to Jacob T. Coffin, CCP C.A. No. 1998-06-222, Fraczkowski, J. (September 30, 1998). That case concluded as follows:
The Court concludes that when a petition is filed under 10 Del. C. Ch. 59 for the change of name for a minor that in determining whether there appears to be no reason for such grant, as required by 10 Del. C. 5904, the Court must extend to the minor the same consideration that is given to a minor under the general domestic relations law of the State of Delaware.
The Court concludes that the reasoning in Cardinal v. Perch, Del. Fam., 611 A.2d 515 (1991) is appropriate in this case.
By implication the Delaware Court of Chancery in Degerberg v. McCormick, Del. Ch., 40 Del. Ch. 471, 184 A.2d 468 (1962) adopted this view when it stated that in any petition involving the requested name change for a minor that ultimately the Court must question and decide what is the best interest of the child.
This view appears to find support in other jurisdictions. Mark v. Kahn, et al., Mass, S.Ct. 333 Mass. 517, 131 N.E.2d 758 (1956), and see annotation in 333 Mass. 517, 131 N.E.2d 758, 53 A.L.R.2d 908.
The decision in In re Marley, Del. Super (1996) is not controlling here since it involved a petition for change of name filed by an adult in her own right.