Who can file an objection? Any person may file an objection to a petition to change the name of another person. Typically, the only time there is an objection to a name change is when one parent files to change the name of a child against the wishes of the other parent. If there is an objection in a case like this, the court decides what is in the best interest of the child.
Read the law: Md. Rule 15-901(f)
What is an objection? An objection is a statement that says you are against the petition for change of name filed by the petitioner. You should have a valid reason for being against the name change and be able to describe it in a sworn written statement called an affidavit. You must file a written objection and supporting affidavit that states the reasons for the objection with the court. You also need to be able to express this reason in court if the other side asks for a hearing.
What is an affidavit? An affidavit is a written statement where you are affirming the contents of the statement to the court under the penalty of perjury to be true. An affidavit in support of an objection to a petition for a name change must be made upon personal knowledge, must set forth facts that would be admissible in evidence, and must show affirmatively that the person objecting is competent to testify to the matters stated in the affidavit. It is not necessary to have the affidavit witnessed or notarized.
What can be a valid reason for an objection?
- The objector has knowledge of an illegal or fraudulent purpose (such as avoiding debts or taxes) on the part of petitioner.
- A mother has filed a petition to change the last name of a minor child, and the father wants the child to have his last name.
When do you need to file the objection? The notice of the name change action will give the deadline for filing an objection. The objection needs to be filed within the time stated in the notice.
How do I object?
- You must file a written objection and supporting affidavit that states the reasons for the objection with the court.
- In your affidavit, you must show that you have personal knowledge that the petitioner is seeking the change of name for an illegal or fraudulent purpose. You must describe what you observed or how you have knowledge of this, and you must be able to testify to it before the court.
- You must serve your objection and affidavit on the petitioner in accordance with Maryland Rule 1-321.
- The petitioner may file a response to your objection within 15 days after being served with the objection and affidavit.
- If you want a hearing, you must make the request in your objection to the petition for a name change.
What if either side wants a hearing? If you want a hearing, you must make the request in your objection to the petition for a name change. If you are the person trying to change your name, you must request a hearing in your response to the objection.