General information about the name change process is contained in Wisconsin Statutes 786.36 and 786.37. There is a $164.50 filing fee to file a name change action. Forms for a name change, as well as Basic Steps to Handling a Name Change, can be found online through the Wisconsin Court System.
Self-Help for Name Change
Wisconsin State Courts offer a self help site to assist you in filing a name change. For further information use this link.
Name Change Steps
Before you begin, carefully read all the documents so that errors can be avoided. Complete all documents that apply to you. You must use black ink! Print or type the information, except for signatures, which must be notarized. A notary is available in the Clerk of Court's Office. After you have completed all documents, you must come to the Clerk of Courts office to open your file. After paying the statutory filing fee of $164.50, the Clerk of Courts will assign a case number and a court date.
Publication of Hearing Details
Contact your local newspaper and make the necessary arrangements to publish your notice of hearing for three consecutive weeks. Following publication, the newspaper will issue you a proof of publication. File this proof of publication with the Clerk of Courts prior to your hearing date, if possible, or bring it with you at the time of your hearing.
In some cases, additional information may be needed by the court, especially in name changes for minor children under the age of 14 years. If this applies to your case please, read the instructions on the appropriate form and the area on the Basic Steps to Handling a Name Change. It is your responsibility to file the necessary affidavits along with your petition when needed.
Born Out of State
If you were not born in the State of Wisconsin, it is your responsibility to contact the office of Vital Statistics in the state of your birth to find out what is required to amend your vital records there. If your name change is granted, your new name is effective immediately.
Return to the Clerk of Courts office immediately after the court hearing. A clerk will collect the additional, necessary fees and costs from you. No cash can be accepted for the Bureau of Vital Statistics fees, payment must be by check or money order.
Additional fees may include the following:
- Additional filing fees may be required if other vital records, such as marriage certificate, needs to be amended.
- Fee of $10.00 for filing the Bureau of Vital Statistics form, if this applies to you. You may also obtain a certified copy of your new birth certificate for a cost of $20.00, for a total of $30.00. Additional copies of the same record ordered at the same time are $3.00 each. Check should be made payable to State of Wisconsin Vital Records.
- The clerk will certify all needed documents for a cost of $5.00 per document, plus $1.25 per page. Check should be made payable to Clerk of Courts.