Wisconsin Statutes Actions and Proceedings in Special Cases (Ch. 775 to 788) § 786.36. Changing names, court procedure

(1) Except as provided in sub. (3) or s. 301.47 , any resident of this state, whether a minor or adult, upon petition to the circuit court of the county where he or she resides and upon filing a copy of the notice required under s. 786.37(1) , with proof of publication, may, if no sufficient cause is shown to the contrary, have his or her name changed or established by order of the court.  Subject to sub. (1m), if the person whose name is to be changed is a minor under the age of 14 years, the petition may be made by whichever of the following is applicable:

(a) Both parents, if they are living, or the survivor of them.

(b) The guardian or person having legal custody of the minor, if both parents are dead or if the parental rights of both parents have been terminated by judicial proceedings.

(c) The minor's mother, if the minor is a nonmarital child who is not adopted or whose parents do not subsequently intermarry under s. 767.803 and if paternity of the minor has not been established.

(1m)(a)1. Subject to subd. 2., the name of a minor under 14 years of age who has 2 living parents may be changed on the petition of one parent if, in addition to filing a copy of the notice required under s. 786.37(1) , with proof of publication, the petitioning parent files proof of service as required under s. 786.37(2) and the nonpetitioning parent does not appear at the hearing on the petition or otherwise answer the petition.

2. If the nonpetitioning parent cannot be found or provided with notice, the name of a minor under 14 years of age who has 2 living parents may be changed on the petition of one parent if, in addition to meeting the filing requirements under subd. 1., the petitioning parent has made a reasonable attempt to find and provide notice to the nonpetitioning parent, but with reasonable diligence the nonpetitioning parent cannot be found or provided with notice, and the nonpetitioning parent does not appear at the hearing or otherwise answer the petition.

(b) If the nonpetitioning parent appears at the hearing on the petition or otherwise answers the petition and shows that he or she has not abandoned the minor, as described in s. 48.415(1)(a)3., (b), and (c) , or failed to assume parental responsibility for the minor, as described in s. 48.415(6) , the court shall require the consent of the nonpetitioning parent before changing the name of the minor.

(2) Except as provided in sub. (2m), the order shall be entered at length upon the records of the court and a certified copy of the record shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county, who shall make an entry in a book to be kept by the register.  The fee for recording a certified copy is the fee specified under s. 59.43(2)(ag) .  If the person whose name is changed or established was born or married in this state, the clerk of the court shall send to the state registrar of vital statistics, on a form designed by the state registrar of vital statistics, an abstract of the record, duly certified, accompanied by the fee prescribed in s. 69.22 , which fee the clerk of court shall charge to and collect from the petitioner.  The state registrar of vital statistics shall then correct the birth record, marriage record or both, and direct the register of deeds and local registrar to make similar corrections on their records.

(2m)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), if the court determines that, pursuant to s. 786.37(4) , publication of the petition is not required, all records related to the petitioner's name change shall be confidential and are exempt from disclosure under s. 19.35(1) .  The court shall transmit to the register of deeds a form that states the petitioner's former name and states that the new name is confidential and may not be disclosed except pursuant to par. (b).  The fee for recording a certified copy is the fee specified under s. 59.43(2)(ag) .  If the person whose name is changed or established was born in this state, the clerk of the court shall send to the state registrar of vital statistics, on a form designed by the state registrar of vital statistics, an abstract of the record, duly certified, accompanied by the fee prescribed in s. 69.22 , which fee the clerk of court shall charge to and collect from the petitioner.  The state registrar of vital statistics shall then correct the birth record and, upon request by the petitioner and payment by the petitioner of the fees required under s. 69.22 , issue to the petitioner the number of certified copies of the corrected birth record requested by the petitioner.

(b) Notwithstanding ss. 69.20 and 69.21 , information that is confidential under this subsection may not be disclosed by the state registrar of vital statistics, the register of deeds, or a local registrar except pursuant to a court order.  A court may order disclosure of confidential information upon good cause shown and upon determining that the safety of the petitioner is not jeopardized by disclosure.

(3) No person engaged in the practice of any profession for which a license is required by the state may change his or her given name or his or her surname to any other given name or any other surname than that under which the person was originally licensed in the profession in this or any other state, in any instance in which the state board or commission for the particular profession, after a hearing, finds that practicing under the changed name operates to unfairly compete with another practitioner or misleads the public as to identity or otherwise results in detriment to the profession or the public.  This prohibition against a change of name by a person engaged in the practice of any profession does not apply to any person legally qualified to teach in the public schools in this state, nor to a change of name resulting from marriage or divorce, nor to members of any profession for which there exists no state board or commission authorized to issue licenses or pass upon the qualifications of applicants or hear complaints respecting conduct of members of the profession.

(4) Any change of name other than as authorized by law is void.


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