||Legal Principles About Names
- Kentucky recognizes the common law right of any person to change their name, so long as it is not done for fraudulent purposes, Burke v. Hammonds, Ky. App., 586 S.W.2d 307 (1979). Kentucky has adopted a formal procedure for requesting a name change (see KRS Chapter 401(http://188.8.131.52/KRS/401-00/CHAPTER.HTM). Requests for name changes are done through the district courts in the state. The judge will issue an order which gives an official record of the name change.
- A individual has the right to use a birth-given name even after marriage. Adopting the husband's surname is a matter of custom, not law. If a married woman consistently and nonfraudulently uses her birth-given name subsequent to her marriage, her surname does not become that of her husband officially. Official documents, such as a nursing license, may be issued in her birth-given name, if that is the name she chooses to use professionally. If a woman consistently uses her husband's surname following marriage, her legal surname will become that of her husband. When this occurs, an official document, such as a marriage license, should be shown so that the name on the license can be changed.
Any time there is a request to change a name on a license, there must be some official documentation accompanying the request. This policy promotes the state's interest in accurate record keeping. KBN accepts the following official documentation: marriage certificate, divorce decree showing the legal authority for a name change, or a social security card.
To submit a name change to KBN, complete the Name Change Form, and mail it along with the appropriate attachments to the Board address listed on the form.
If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Goldman, General Counsel, at 1-800-305-2042, Ext. 227 or 502-429-3309, or email Nathan.Goldman@ky.gov